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Power Sellers Center – eBay Product Sourcing Secrets

Many an aspiring eBay seller has been put off by many a bad product sourcing experience. Just imagine… you come across what seems to be a great product offering: hundreds of a HOT product that was sure to sell for a massive profit. You make the purchase, emptying your 401K account and stocking up your garage with cases and cases only to find that these products simply did not sell on eBay.

It is a heartbreaking experience, and that could put a damper on your aspirations to become a power seller on eBay. These are the secrets of purchasing and selling products on eBay. These are designed to prevent you from being in a similar situation, in addition to providing the information you need to know to find items to resell on eBay and profit time and again.

Secret No. 1: Be careful when you buy in bulk

Buy in bulk can be a great way to get significant gains in eBay, is likely to receive the items at a lower price than most products you buy. If you do not have storage space if, or simply the lack of capital to invest in the beginning, buying in bulk is not a good option for you.

Even if you have the initial capital and financial storage space to buy a batch of a particular item, you must always be assured that you will actually be able to sell this product. If a wholesaler, you will use to buy a lot of what you sell, why not apply for an order of smaller sample from the start. This not only gives you peace of mind with respect to the quality of your products, but you’ll also be able to see what will actually sell on eBay.

Secret No. 2: Try different sourcing strategies

Rome was not built in a day and neither will your business on the Internet. There are many different places where you can source merchandise for your eBay store. You can start by selling items you no longer need around your home, or finding cheap textbooks charity shops, which are in demand. You may prefer to use a dropshipper for you to avoid having to make an inventory of your account, instead of relying on your chosen dropshipping company view the article in question to the winning bidders.

Instead of assuming that the first time you try purchasing strategy is that we must adhere to, why not look around and try different ideas to find the best method of supply of goods for sale to maximize profits by selling .

Secret No. 3: If at first you do not succeed…

It would be nice to provide a product sourcing eBay secrets that work every time, but sometimes it is very likely some people may find themselves in a situation where you can not sell items for profit. It is unfortunate that an event happens almost every eBay seller at some point in their marketing career. If you are in a situation where you simply can not move the goods you have bought yourself does not win, but we do know that almost every seller of success has been where you are and have gone to create your very own highly profitable business.

New for 2015 – How To Start Your Own Business Fast

If you’re tired of working for others and just wish you could create your own business that earns a steady stream of income, you’re in luck. There is a way to get into business fast without having to pay out a lot of money to do so. Forget franchises and walk away from creating a whole venture from the ground up, if you want to get going fast eBay is the place to explore.

eBay? Why eBay?

If you’re interested in selling products online business trainers will gladly tell you this is the venue to use to get going in a successful venture with expediency. eBay offers newcomers to online sales a great deal of potential. Work with a trainer to get started and you’ll find that it’s:

  • Affordable to get started – You don’t need thousands and thousands of dollars to launch an eBay storefront. In fact, you can get going – and even find new products to sell – for less than a few hundred.
  • Easy to establish – eBay storefronts are very simple to create and eBay provides you with all the ecommerce tools you need to serve customers.
  • Great for working with dropshippers – Dropshippers are basically catalog sales businesses that cater to online sellers. Rather than ask you to buy and inventory in advance, they will enable you to sell products from your eBay storefront and then place an order on your customer’s behalf. This saves you from paying for an inventory or having to mess around with shipping.

With millions of users already going to eBay on a daily basis, this is a great venue to explore for online sales. If you’re ready to launch fast, work with a reputable trainer to gain the insights you need to get going right. The best will provide you with market research information, access to dropshippers and insights on how to make your business really earn.

Exploring eBay Potential in 2015

When you’re ready to go into business online, you want a venue for selling that’s likely to assist you in your venture toward success. When reinventing the wheel doesn’t appeal, eBay might. Use this site to sell products and it’s possible you’ll never need or want a complicated, hard-to-run standalone ecommerce website. Power Sellers Center can help you get there!

What makes eBay the superior choice for many sellers? There are a variety of reasons why thousands of sellers from all over the world bank on eBay to help them earn money. Here are just a few of them:

  • The established presence – eBay has been online helping others make sales since the early 1990s. This site is simply very well trusted in the online retail arena. Its presence is recognized in countries all over the world, too.
  • The tools for sellers – eBay has worked hard to make it easy for sellers to market their wares. In fact, it even offers online storefronts now. These are sort of like standalone websites found in the middle of the “eBay marketplace.” The tools provided give sellers everything they need to show off their products, pull in potential buyers and handle transactions are they happen.
  • The traffic numbers – eBay is visited by thousands and thousands of people on a daily basis – seven days a week. This venue never closes and it boasts almost 100 million users from all over the globe. The potential for exposure this provides is amazing for sellers that want to earn a living through online marketing.
  • The reputation – eBay has a stellar reputation in online sales. When sellers establish here they can only benefit from this reputation. eBay is very well known the world over and it’s also known for letting the community of buyers and sellers police itself. This makes it a trusted resource for buyers.

The potential eBay has to offer sellers in the online world should not be underestimated. With heavy traffic, incredible sales and great tools, you can establish a successful venture here in no time at all.

Product Sourcing: China: Dropshipping for Profits

Importing From China for Larger Profits

Importing from China and the Far East is of course not a new business idea. In fact, fortunes have been made trading with China for centuries, dating back to the ancient Silk Road and medieval spice trade.

In the past twenty years, China has emerged as the world’s dominant manufacturing base for an ever-increasing range of products, and this now includes high-tech consumer electronics products such as mobile phones, computers, and TV / home entertainment systems. For international business people in a position to use their know-how and contacts to buy from China and sell in their home markets, the profit opportunities are massive.

International consumers are hungry to snap up cheaper and ultra-cheap imported goods, and China’s enormous low-wage workforce, accompanied by more and more relaxed business regulations, mean that the cheapest mass produced goods come from China and “Made In China” will continue to be the most common label on most consumer goods for years to come.

You don’t have to be a big, established company, or an import expert to begin taking advantage of buying low in China and selling high at home.

Where can you look at examples of the smaller businesses that are already taking advantage of the low cost of Chinese electronics and other products?

Supplier Product Sourcing:  China: Dropshipping for Profits
Shop on eBay? Buy any clothes lately? Enjoy electronics? You name it? Well, just in case you hadn’t noticed, most merchandise is from China – it’s not just Wal-Mart doing it anymore.

Here are the biggest hubs of small-business online sellers for you to research. Many successful eBay sellers today are already using the China-cheap-import model to make big bucks, and you can learn a lot by seeing how their businesses are operating:

If you take a look at these sellers’ products many of them are sourcing from China, and a lot of them drop-ship products directly from China, meaning they don’t even handle inventory.

You’d better believe that you can follow the same model for great import profits!

What Is “DropShipping” All About?

Drop-shipping (“dropshipping”) is a practice of selling someone a product that you don’t actually have in your hand.

Sound like a scam? Think again, it’s the new face of marketing and distribution in today’s information-driven market.

china business guide manufacturing suppliers chinese vendors logo Product Sourcing:  China: Dropshipping for Profits

Here is what you do if you are a drop-ship seller:

1. You research good products to sell. You do the research to locate a good supplier of these products and establish a buyer relationship.

2. Next you advertise their products to your market, e.g. to your shop’s customers, to your online auction viewers, in a magazine, etc just as you would market your own product.

3. You receive and process orders for the products from the customers, and take their payment.

4. You use this payment to go to the supplier of the products and buy the goods you need from them.

5. The supplier sends the goods directly to the customer without you having to handle the products or any stock.

6. For an extra fee, many drop-ship suppliers will also brand the packaging and invoices with your name/logo so it looks to the end customer like the goods have been dispatched from the same exact company that they ordered from.

Drop-shipping is a classic exploitation of ecommerce online, because customers don’t expect to see the goods when they order. If you walk into a regular store and the manager asks you to put down money for goods which aren’t even there, and will be delivered to you later from another shop which quite possibly you could buy from directly, would you still make the purchase? Maybe. Online, however, the source of the goods isn’t always quite so clear; buyers are more likely going to send you money for your products which in fact are sourced from somewhere else.

The obvious advantage of drop-ship selling is that you can make profits selling any sort of deliverable goods, without having to take the risk of investing in stock, and without the costs and hassles associated with packing and delivering goods. Your selling business could also be very scalable, going from a few orders to a few hundred without significantly increasing your workload or operating costs.

Drop-shipping can also be a source of efficiency for distributors or wholesalers because drop-ship sellers do much of the marketing work for their products which the larger companies wouldn’t spare the investment, time, or expertise to do in so many worldwide markets. Because the drop-ship seller frequently will handle much of the customer service and also consolidate several small orders into reasonable larger order quantities, the large distributors will see small drop-ship sellers as good business partners.

However, there is more complexity to drop-shipping than meets the eye, and since it’s so easy to start up a drop-shipping business you need to be aware of some of the risks and downsides before you plunge in.

d2g suppliers chinese suppliers bottom banner Product Sourcing:  China: Dropshipping for Profits

Is Drop-Shipping For You?

Drop-ship selling can be a great way to make good profits from a small and fast start-up business idea.

It can also potentially bring good value to your customers, because although you are marking up the cost of the goods for your profit, you may be bringing your market products which they otherwise can’t obtain or didn’t know about. You could also be adding value to the buyer’s experience by creating good product combinations, making ordering easier and more secure, improving product information and customer support, and assisting with import issues.

BUT, drop-shipping is not a simple thing to succeed at. Many people are succeeding at it, but you need to have a reasonable business common sense and be aware of the potential difficulties you will face.
Let’s say you find a really good product and you have a good supplier for that product who will drop-ship to your customers. Let’s also say you have the know-how to market this product to the right customers. You’ve got the makings of success already and are off to a great start. Now you need to think ahead about how your business is going to work…

120223113637B71 Product Sourcing:  China: Dropshipping for Profits

Drop-Shipping – The Perfect Zero-Risk Enterprise?

While dropshipping has it’s ups, it is important to give some warnings about drop-shipping as a business plan. It can be great and I don’t want you to go away from this section totally discouraged, but on the other hand everyone needs to face up to reality in the cold light of day.

Too often when I am reading “guaranteed success” type websites I read sales copy from people who are trying to sell you drop-shipping directories or related services, and they don’t like to show you the other side of the coin!

Here are the basic downsides (cons) of drop-shipping you need to consider:

  • You are not in control.
    Since you are not the manufacturer or original supplier of the goods, you are at their mercy. What if their business starts being unreliable, untrustworthy, or even goes bust? What if their export regulations or your import regulations change? Without a supply of goods your business may quickly be finished.
  • Stock Shortages.
    Even if your supplier is a good one, inevitably they will often go out of stock on certain goods, or change their product range. If you aren’t completely up-to-date with what your supplier has available, you could find yourself with dissatisfied customers facing long delays because they have paid you for a product which is now on back-order or not even available any more.
  • I didn’t want a full-time business!
    As a drop-shipper you may be tempted to move quickly into several product areas in a bid to get the easy profits you dreamed of. Perhaps you hit on something very successful. You could rapidly find your sales expanding beyond what you originally thought you would have to deal with in the “simple” drop-ship business model.

Can You Keep Everything Under Control?

If you are successful at drop-ship selling, you could quickly find yourself overwhelmed with all the problems of running a business that you thought you were going to be able to avoid:

  • Taxes
  • Customer service
  • Pre-sales and after-sales product technical support
  • Product returns support
  • Legal issues
  • Growing overhead, if you need support staff or office space
  • Accounting and record-keeping
  • Marketing budgets
  • Time management problems and personal stress, etc.
  • Competitors
    Drop-ship suppliers tend not to offer exclusive agreements to anyone in particular. That means that with the right base and know-how, any other drop-ship selling business can relatively swiftly copy your successful model and compete with you or take down your business completely.
  • Online Factors
    Since most drop-ship sellers will be running most of their marketing through internet channels, they will be exposed to all the risks associated with online business. These include people copying your web content without authorization, ever-increasing advertising costs, ever-increasing competition especially from large companies, and unpredictable customer traffic, if relying on search engines. There is a lot to learn if you are new!
  • As a drop-shipper, the brands and products aren’t yours, you may not be an expert in the product area, and you have no physical / personal presence for your customers. So you will have to work extra hard to build your company’s identity and repeat-customer business.

In short, running an online business carries the same risks and rewards as running a traditional store. Having a good business plan and making good business choices will ultimately determine whether you are successful or not.

Drop-shipping from China

It is likely that during your search for a good product supplier in China, that not a lot of Chinese suppliers will really know what you are talking about if you ask about “drop-shipping.” Mainly because small order quantities for international orders are still a new thing in many product areas, so even the term ‘dropshipping’ may be unknown.

Fortunately, there are many distributors in China who have websites, and offer low to no minimum order quantities, and are able to drop-ship to customers all over the world. However, the factories many distriubutors source their products from would never be able to deliver single items, even if they could cope with the logistical complications involved with so many small packages. It’s the same with most factories – they won’t do small orders.

So if you are looking for China drop-ship suppliers, you may need to look closer at distributors and trading companies instead of trying to head straight for the factories.

In principle, Chinese suppliers probably won’t have any problems sending goods to your customers. If they can already send samples or packages to your address, then why not to someone else’s? The key really is finding suppliers with a low enough minimum order quantity (MOQ). Even if you find a supplier with a MOQ of 10 pieces you may be able to drop-ship 5 of those to your customers and the others to yourself as a sort of combination of dropshipping and holding inventory. Or some suppliers may let you pay in advance for say 100 pieces and then ship them in small batches to different locations later.

The perfect situation is to find a Chinese supplier who can reliably and efficiently dropship single item packages anywhere in the world. If you approach Chinese suppliers and simply ask “do you drop-ship?” you may not get very clear answers because they may not understand the question.

Here are suggestions for the questions you should ask any possible Chinese suppliers you may be looking at working with:

  • Do you have a minimum order quantity? Can I order one piece at a time?
  • Can you ship to [country]?
  • Is it OK to ship directly to my customers?
  • If you ship to my customers can you also provide me with invoices?
  • If you shipped directly to my customers could you guarantee that your packages and invoice would not identify your company? (This is one of the hardest things!)
  • Would you be able to label the packages and invoice with my own company name / logo? If so would you charge an extra fee for this?
  • If I order 20 pieces but ship to 20 different addresses, how can I do this? Do I have to make 20 separate orders? And if so do I still get the 20 piece quantity discount?

You will also need to discuss shipping options:

  • What method of shipping do you use?
  • How to quote / pay
  • How fast do you ship
  • How to get tracking details
  • How to deal with customs and taxes
  • How to deal with delivery problems
  • How to deal with returns

Obviously some of these things you will work out as you go along, but it’s a good idea to think about some of the issues that are likely to arise so you can prepare yourself.

104896 050 A6C0F6F0 Product Sourcing:  China: Dropshipping for Profits

Tips for Successful Drop-Shipping from China

  • It may seem obvious, but please check with your supplier whether they will dropship, before attempting to place a dropship order! Don’t dive into dropshipping and sell something to a customer, and THEN start asking your supplier if / how they can dropship. Do your homework!
  • Don’t make promises about delivery time to your customers until you have tried the supplier and you know they can deliver in the way you want. I strongly suggest you buy some items from your prospective supplier to get a good idea of how they perform before you go public!
  • Under no circumstances should you drop-ship items that you have never seen. Your first couple of orders should be to yourself to inspect the goods and assess the supplier’s service. This will also let you get an idea of the import tax situation for this particular product.
  • Follow good communication tips (Also in this Topic, see e-BOOK: Product Sourcing: China: Communication and Culture) for Chinese suppliers. Make requests not demands.

That’s enough for now about the general issues of drop-shipping. Let’s look at how to select the best products to sell, which is vital to successful drop-shipping or any importing business for that matter.

Choosing Profitable Products

Perhaps you already have an area of knowledge or expertise that leads you towards importing and selling a particular category of product. Or maybe you’ve been selling one type of product for a long time from local sources, and now you’re looking for alternative sources of the same product from overseas. Or maybe your plain new.

If you know exactly what products you need to source, your search is going to be narrower, and you can immediately focus on finding good suppliers for particular products and setting up initial deals.

But for a lot of people, especially those new to importing for resale on eBay, Yahoo! Stores, or online, it is sometimes a bewildering task to figure out what the best products are that are going to make you the maximum profit with the minimum headache .

Whatever your overall plan, it’s essential to do in-depth market research before you commit to a project. Business students learn that each investment of money means money not available for something else. The same goes for your energy, and time. You need to plan wisely so you don’t waste too much time, energy, and money on business projects that don’t have a solid foundation and good prospects.

Finding Products To Sell

There are essentially two strategies to take, if you’re looking around for new ideas about what to import and sell:

  • STRATEGY 1 – Play It Safe
    Find out what products and categories are currently hot sellers, and jump on the bandwagon. Get better quality products, cheaper prices, or better market penetration to compete with all the other people selling similar things.
  • STATEGY 2 – Get Ahead Of The Pack
    Find new, cutting-edge, or unique products that are little-known but, according to your background knowledge and research, have great selling potential.

STRATEGY 1 – Play It Safe

An example of this approach would be searching for good wholesale sources of Playstation or X-Box consoles. These are established hot-sellers, so you know there is a market for the products.

Advantages:

  • Relatively easy to find wholesale sources.
  • Easy to market as people already know the product (and want the product) and there are already information resources available relating to technical details.
  • Well-known or currently-hot-selling items may be selling at a premium, allowing you a greater profit margin.

Disadvantages:

  • Most of the hottest consumer items are also branded goods.
  • If you can find a source, so can others. Lots of other sellers will already be selling your chosen products.

If you “ride the wave” of the product popularity, there will come a stage when everything slows down, and if updates to the product are being released regularly, you could end up selling things that are out of date and depreciating fast.

women factory guangzhou Product Sourcing:  China: Dropshipping for Profits

Can you succeed if you are only following the herd?

Your competitors are selling the same products as you, and they are more experienced, have a bigger customer base, and better prices. Don’t give up!

With the correct approach and effort dedicated in the right directions, you can succeed using other people’s tried and tested formulas.

Here’s how you can persuade customers to shop with you instead:

  • Move faster than your competitors to bring newly released products to market.
  • Use quantity buying power to cut your buying costs and lower your prices.
  • Reach more customers. Take advantage of your location to market products. e.g. you may be the only person who has a source for this product in Timbuktu. Or your location may be virtual: maybe you are a regular contributor to an online community, and you have great connections for marketing products.
  • Have a better overall marketing strategy than your competitors. You can study marketing all your life, but even small changes can improve your sales. Some things to think about:

    • Improved product information and personalized pre-sales advice
    • Improved (personalized) customer support and knowledgeable technical support
    • Improved delivery of physical products (e.g. faster logistics, better packaging, free gifts, good tracking correspondence)
    • Warranties and guarantees
    • Quantity discounts and other special deals
    • Bundling, Upselling, and Combining products (e.g. software + hardware)
    • Promoting products to previous buyers
    • Strategic advertising (e.g. pay-per-click advertising online)
    • Traditional (offline) marketing

STATEGY 2 – Get Ahead Of The Pack

An example of this approach would be visiting trade fairs and even travelling overseas to ‘discover’ products with obvious selling potential.

Advantages:

  • Less competition to worry about.
  • Novelty value and “uniqueness” …the demand that means customers will pay higher prices.
  • You will develop expertise about your products quickly as you research sources, and as the first person to offer products you may gain respect and “expert status” in the marketplace.

Disadvantages:

  • You have a lot more marketing “legwork” to do, educating customers about the benefits of your product.
  • New products may have unforeseen / unpredictable drawbacks such as electronics developing faults.

New products could “go stale” quickly, especially in the world of technology, where your product could be suddenly rendered obsolete by a new and better product. At the least, products that are innovative may fall in price very quickly.

So Which Strategy Do You Recommend?

A combination of the two strategies will often work best.

For example, you know iPods are hot sellers, but the market is too crowded to profit from selling actual Apple iPods. What can you do?

You can seek out and market “related” or “alternative” products.

“Related” products would be iPod accessories like cases, speakers, and spare parts.

“Alternative” products would be other MP3 Players or MP4 Players for buyers who want a media player but not necessarily only an Apple iPod.

In this example: you identified iPods as hot sellers, but you are not selling iPods … Instead you are just profiting from the popularity of iPods. This sort of approach would let you “play it safe” while still being “ahead of the pack”.

What Are Niche Products Anyway?

Overall, people use the word “niche” to mean…

  • Not a mainstream product (although it may be in a mainstream category).
  • A product that may be difficult to buy in stores.
  • A product with a specialist application or special interest to a certain group of people, that make it a desirable purchase item for only that group.
  • A product with a reliable and predictable selling power because of its specialist appeal / necessity to a certain group.

It may seem surprising, but when people talk about finding “niche products,” this could in fact be part of a “play it safe” / “follow the crowd” strategy.

For example, you may target a well-known successful product category, but choose to focus on one particular narrow band of products… e.g. “sex toys” are known hot sellers, but you choose to specialize only in “Mongolian hand-crafted leather whips”. You may even source these from the same supplier as your competitors, but you put all your energy (& investment) into marketing this niche, and get successful by knowing a particular group of customers and their specialist tastes.

The other way to look at finding “niche products” is that you get ahead of the pack by identifying a particular specialized demand in the marketplace that is under-supplied , and then searching out a supply to match that demand.

Ways to source products other people aren’t supplying:

  • Supply foreign or very localized markets where the products are previously unknown or unobtainable;
  • Do thourough internet research to uncover suppliers whose products may be good, but marketing spread is poor;
  • Visit trade shows to discover the newest products;
  • Work with manufacturers to adapt designs or even develop totally new products.

Tips on: “Customer Group Niches”

Maybe it’s not the product that’s a ‘niche’, but the market area which you are selling to.

You can think about a “customer group niche” that lets you profit more from non-niche products. For example, lots of hobby and enthusiast markets will have a number of ultra-specialized products but there is also potential to sell more generic products to the same group at higher prices. E.g. people whose hobby is fishing will buy specialist products like fishing rods and lines, but they will also be interested in related but not particularly specialist items like bags, outdoor clothes, drink flasks, camping chairs etc.

If you can bring products to the right audience and save the customers the effort of searching in different places for what they need, they will be willing to pay the slightly higher prices that will improve your profits. It may be really convenient for them to shop for items together and not look around all sorts of different shops for their needs.

In the world of ecommerce, finding a “customer group niche” may just be a matter of keyword optimization. E.g. on eBay, instead of listing your item as “fingerless gloves” you list them as “fishing gloves” and in separate auctions as “sailing gloves”, “windsurfing gloves,” and “gloves for mountain biking”. Simply by capturing people who are already shopping in a particular hobby / enthusiast mindset, you will be more successful converting customers at good prices.

What Makes A Good Product?

Which is better – importing digital cameras, or importing digital camera bags?

Digital cameras are more profitable, of course. But cameras are expensive, possibly will lose value fast, and need insured shipping.

Camera bags are cheap to buy in quantity, can’t really go wrong, and easy to ship cheaply. On the other hand, you’ll have to sell a lot of camera bags to match the profit on a single camera sale.

There’s no right answer, but if you think about a variety of product types in your area of interest, it will lead you towards the right considerations for picking products:

  • Is the product legal to import and sell in your country? (and think about possible trademark issues if you are importing fake or “replica” or “look-a-like” items from Asia )
  • Is the product expensive to ship ? – heavy… or valuable?
  • Is the product in a category that is likely to be hit by significant customs taxes when it reaches you or your customer, the importer?
  • Is the product going to require technical knowledge from you, just to be able to market it and support your customers?
  • How much actual profit do you make per sale? A 4% profit on a $500 item is better than a 200% profit on a $1 item.

Can the financial base of your business handle the impact of negative events , such as refunding customers, non-delivered orders, or holding stock that is depreciating? Those are BIG questions about your whole business venture, but the type of products you’re dealing in will make a difference, particularly if they are high value.

Products To Avoid

  • Things that are widely and cheaply available in massive chain stores.
  • Things that have a short popularity lifespan.
  • Things that are so cheap your profit is too low to be worth the effort.
  • Things that depreciate or fluctuate in price (e.g. RAM and flash memory)
  • Things with a lot of options or variables that take too much time to process, pack, and deliver.
  • Things that break when you post them or which have a high likelihood of breaking during the warranty period.
  • Things where there is an enthusiast / hobby / fan culture associated with the products which you are totallyunfamiliar with.

Summary:

Now is the time to look at suppliers in China to source your products from for maximum profits. China has opened it’s doors to the world and is now a dominant manufacturing base for products. The internet and changing Chinese culture has made doing business a fact of life for many businesses, allowing people to buy from China and sell in their home markets.

In this Topic, we’ve covered:

  • Dropshipping: What it’s about, Pros and Cons, What to look for (and ask) when looking for potential suppliers, and Tips for Successful Dropshipping.
  • Choosing Profitable Products
  • Strategies for Success and their advantages/disadvantages
  • Niche Products and Markets
  • and finally…Good and Bad products

Power Sellers Center Article Archive

Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

Since eBay now has a rule about the minimum size of images you can upload to the eBay Gallery, many people, including myself, have encounted the same problem, where the image our suppliers provide aren’t big enough for eBay’s standards.The first solution is always to communicate with your supplier and ask for larger images. The best option is to have an image that it large enough for eBay’s image standards.

However, sometimes we just can’t get larger images from the supplier, so we have to try and make the images we do have fit.

The problem is that if you increase the size of an image, you will lose a lot of the image quality, which can really negatively affect your chances of selling that item.

So, this is the solution that I use when I have this problem: sandwiching the image with a larger, background image so that overall, the picture is large enough for eBay’s standards! biggrin Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

Here’s how:

First, make sure you have saved the image you need to make larger somewhere that you can find it easily, such as your computer Desktop.

Second, we need to open the program Paint, from your Accessories folder on your computer:

accessories zps5f108bda Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

Then:

paint zps2e343782 Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

It should look something like this:

paint2 zps746e3294 Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

We then need to resize this blank white box to 500 x 500 pixels, so first select the Resize button:

resize zpsc9f76e8c Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

When you click on that, you will get a small window. You will need to select Pixels, then UNCHECK the Maintain Aspect Ration box, and finally, enter 500 in each of the boxes:

resize2 zps813878f4 Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

Then click OK – you will now have a white box that is 500 by 500 pixels – the minimum size for eBay!

We then need to save this box, and I would recommend that you save it to your Desktop, and name it “whitebackground” which is what I have done.

saving zpsf8425a9e Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

Then, you can close the Paint program.

From there, we need to go to www.pixlr.com:

pixlr1 zps7e6298c9 Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

And then scroll down, until you can see the Pixlr Express options, and select Launch Web App:

pixlr2 zps69ca342c Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

It will take you to a page that looks like this, and we need to click on the Browse button:

pixlr3 zps6994dab2 Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

You will then get a window that you can “browse” for your white background, wherever you saved it. (I saved mine on the desktop, and named it whitebackground so I could find it easily).

pixlr4 zpsc7c6a365 Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

We just need to open our white background, and it will be displayed on our Pixlr screen, with some buttons below it – we need to click on the Adjustment button:

pixlr5 zps008ab1f4 Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

When you click on the Adjustment button, a lot more buttons will appear – we need to click on the Add Image button:

pixlr6 zpsc891f64d Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programsWhen you do this, the buttons at the bottom of Pixlr will change, and we will need to click on the Browse button:

pixlr7 zpse7393b84 Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

Another window will open, and we need to select the image we want, which would be the picture of our product that is too small for eBay’s standards. I’ve selected a charm I purchased for my niece:

pixlr8 zpsd50611fb Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

Pixlr will then import that image over the white background – you just need to click and drag the image until its centered in the white background, and then, when you have the image where you want it, press the Apply button:

pixlr9 zps6fedb6ef Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

The two images are now “sandwiched” together, and since the outer dimensions are 500 x 500 pixels, this image can be used for eBay!

All you need to do now is click the Save button in the upper left-hand corner, and save the image:

pixlr10 zps9217b5e3 Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

BE SURE TO SAVE IT AS SOMETHING OTHER THAN “WHITEBACKGROUND”

Otherwise you will end up losing your white background and have to create another. I usually name my image after the actual item, so I know what image to upload when I go to create my eBay listing. smiley Resizing an image for your eBay listing using different programs

Using the Power Sellers Center Message System

To use the Message System, look on the right hand side of the course, 2 boxes below the eBay Official Time Clock. There you will find the message system. Click the link to launch..

Then after you click in will launch the Message System, IF YOU HAVE A MESSAGE THEN THE CONTACTS LISTED WILL HAVE A NUMBER IN PARENTHESIS SHOWING THE NUMBER OF MESSAGES FROM THAT PERSON. SIMPLY CLICK ON THEIR NAME AND READ THE MESSAGE THEN IF YOU WISH REPLY:

message system 213x300 Using the Power Sellers Center Message System

Then click the SEARCH tab and find the users you want to add to your contact list.

Shipping Items on eBay – Pack it up!

Congratulations! Your item sold and you need to ship it. Not a terribly exciting or difficult task. But, if you do the job half way and skip on cushioning your item, incorrectly label, use the wrong container, you could risk damaging the contents during shipping or worse, sending it to the wrong buyer. Either way, your packing and shipping practices play a huge part in your success as your buyers are going to echo their sentiments (good or bad) in your Feedback. Poor feedback equals poor sales. If you ever took the time to look at feedback, the majority of comments have to do with packing and shipping. Even if you think you know how to pack and ship, humor us and read through this section – you just may learn something that you can apply at a later time.

Essential Packing Supplies

If you are, or plan to be, an active seller, you need to have some basic supplies handy. Nothing wastes more time than to constantly have to run back and forth buying supplies. We recommend you set aside an area for packing items up; a place where you can keep all your supplies in one place. Having an organized area to take care of business makes conducting business a much easier and pleasant task.

Let’s go through a proper packing supplies checklist:

  • Packing tape – clear or brown or both
  • Bubble wrap – large or small bubbles depending on your products
  • Styrofoam peanuts, old newspaper, other cushioning materials
  • Scissors
  • Box cutter or utility knife
  • Postal scale
  • Magic Marker
  • Shipping labels
  • Return address labels
  • Boxes

Supplies explained…

You would do good to have both clear and brown tape on hand. It’s inexpensive and can be used in different ways. For one, clear tape works great for sealing boxes shut and for covering labels. Brown tape is usually more flexible than the clear and works great for covering old labels (if your are reusing an old box) and markings. Brown tape is also good for sealing boxes and since it tends to be thinner and more flexible, may work better with odd containers.

Supplies explained…

Cushioning your item to protect against damage is very important! Don’t skip on properly protecting your shipment. Use the proper type and amount of filler to surround your items. Styrofoam peanuts work great; they are lightweigt (thus reducing shipping weight) and don’t leave stains like newspaper can. Unfortunately, they are not free and it takes storage space to hold them. Newspaper works well too, doesn’t take as much storage space but does add to overall weight of the box. The rest of the supplies are self explanatory.

Where to find boxes and packing materials

If you primarily ship United States Postal Service (USPS), you can get Priority Mail and Express Mail boxes, envelopes, tubes, labels, return receipts, stickers and more for absolutely free! You can pick up some of these at your local post office but usually your choice in what they have in stock is limited. You can also order online, even in bulk, and have it delivered (usually for free!).

To order: go to supplies.usps.gov and click on “For Mailing/Shipping” or you can even order free USPS boxes with eBay on them by going here:http://ebaysupplies.usps.com

USPS ORDER BOXES Shipping Items on eBay   Pack it up!

If you don’t plan to use USPS Priority or Express mail, you can still purchase a variety of boxes, envelopes and other supplies at the post office however, their selection is fairly limited and their prices a bit higher. You can save money by using major office supply stores such as Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, etc. They offer a large selection and better prices.

There are a number of online suppliers of office supplies, such as uline.com, that offer very good pricing on their supplies and you can get everything you need in one place, ordering from the convenience of your home. You can even buy your shipping supplies from eBay stores that specialize in packing supplies. Simply do a search on eBay for “shipping supplies” or “boxes.”

Lastly, you can always use boxes you have around the house or go collecting at your local stores. Most retailers have no problem getting rid of all their excess boxes. You might even be able to get free Styrofoam peanuts too.Boxes can be reused over and over as long as they remain structurally sound and sturdy enough to protect what you are shipping. However, if you’re reusing a box, cover all the old labels and markings with a heavy black marker or adhesive labels.

Choosing the Right Shipping Container

Now that you have all your supplies collected, all you have to do is box up your item and seal it up. Easy, huh? Not so fast – the consequences of choosing the wrong shipping container can be both disastrous and unnecessarily expensive.

First, do you need a box or an envelope? If you have a large item to ship, it’s a no-brainer. What about something smaller and flatter, such as a laser disk or a coin?

Your choice in packaging should be based on the item’s fragility. If the item can bend or break, use a box; if not, you’re probably okay to use an envelope.

Whatever your choice, pick a container that will be large enough to hold your item without the need to force it or bend it. In other words, your item should not be touching the sides of the container. There should be enough room in the container that you can stuff packing all around your item. On the other hand, your box shouldn’t be so big that your item can move all around in it. Too big off a box will also add to the shipping cost due to increased weight and size.

Your shipping boxes should be made of heavy, corrugated cardboard and have all it’s flaps intact. Single layer cardboard boxes such as shoe boxes are not going to protect your item properly. Also, make sure that you are not exceeding the boxes maximum gross weight, which is usually printed on the bottom.

Note: One of the nice, things about using the free boxes provided by the USPS is that they come in many sizes and shapes, they are made of the correct materials, they have adhesive closures, they look good and they are free. Do you want to receive something you bought in a second-hand box? Your customers probably don’t either.

With so many box sizes available, sometimes you find that you need something somewhere between the size boxes you have. Here are your choices:

First, you can cut down the box to a smaller size by cutting down the corners of the box to make it shorter and then cut off the ends of the flaps as needed. Sometimes it is hard to fold unscored flaps, so you might want to make your own scores by shallowly slicing a knife where you want to bend the box closed.

Second, you can combine two smaller boxes. Let’s say your box is 18 inches long and your item is 24 inches long, just take two boxes and insert to open end of one box inside the open end of the other. Make sure you use enough packing tape to keep the boxes together. The last thing you need is your custom box coming apart during shipping.

How to Pack

Ever receive an item just sitting in a box with no packing? Were you happy about that? Of course not! Don’t disappoint your buyers by using shoddy packing practices. A loose item is bound to get damaged by bouncing around during shipping. However, you want to be a successful seller on eBay, so you need to carefully pack you items to minimize any chances of your goods getting damaged from droping or rough handling and from changing weather conditions.

How do you currently pack your items? Professional shippers use Styrofoam peanuts, amatuers use crumpled up newspaper (or just about anything that can be found around their home). Aside from looking more professional, peanuts are lighter and cushion better, and will result in a box that costs less to ship. In addition, peanuts are cheap. Next time you ship, give them a try.

Try some of these packing tips for shipping:

  • Always try to ship an item in it’s original box or packaging. That original container was made for that product, use it!
  • If you are shipping media, such as DVDs, CDs, etc. there are item specific packaging you can buy.
  • Always use cushioning around your item whether it be peanuts, newspaper, bubble wrap, or any combination
  • Don’t skimp on the cushioning around your item. Pack it in good to prevent your item shifting around in the box. Cushioning should be on all sides of your item.
  • Place your item in the center of the box by padding underneath it, not just around it.
  • When shipping several items in a box, wrap each item individually and pack in between each item to keep items from hitting or rubbing against each other.

How to Pack (Continued)

  • When shipping fragile items, such as figurines, glass, ceramics, etc., pack each item in it’s own box then pack those boxes in a larger box with cushioning between each of those boxes.
  • If your item has protruding parts, cover them with extra padding.
  • Stuff glassware or any other hollow items, such as vases, with newspaper or other material. This provides an extra level of cushioning.
  • When shipping jars or other items with lids, either separate the lid from the base with bubble wrap or tissue or pack the lid in a separate small box.
  • When shipping framed photographs or artwork, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately. Do not let artwork come in direct contact with paper or cardboard.
  • Wrap paper items in some sort of plastic bag or wrap to protect against wetness.
  • Take batteries out of electronic equipment before shipping.
  • Computer parts need to be packed in an electrostatic discharge bag and need to be well padded. Do not use Styrofoam peanuts for filler as they build up a damaging static charge.

When you’ve finished packing, give your box a gentle shake. Did you hear anything moving around? If you can hear or feel anything moving around in there, add more packing before sealing the box.

International Customers

Packing for international customers really isn’t any different than domestic shipping. You will want to pack you item as securely as possible as most likely your package will get even rougher treatment on its long journey. The biggest difference you will find is in the paperwork but we’ll cover that a little later.

Seal Your Package

Your box is packed, now you have to seal it. Properly sealing your box is essential. Be sure you use the correct tape that is designed for shipping and always seal both the top and bottom of the box. Cover all seams of the box with tape.

Label Your Package

The first thing a buyer sees when they receive their item is the box and the label. Is your label handwritten? Printed? How professional is it?

Kinds of labels

If you are using USPS Priority/Express, you can order Priority/Express labels for free (or pick them up at your local post office). Otherwise you will need to purchase your own.

Standard labels for shipping are usually the basic 4-inch x 6-inch blank, white labels. Anything smaller is difficult to work with and anything larger is just wasting space. These labels are available are any office supply store or USPS.

Note: If you use the USPS labels, however, they must be used with the appropriate service. For example, if you use a USPS Priority label, the package must also be sent USPS Priority mail. You could always snip off the part of the label that says USPS Priority, but you didn’t hear it from me.

You can create and print out your own labels from your PC using Microsoft Word or even better, go to Avery.com and download their free label making software and label templates. You can also have a service such as FedEx Kinko’s can print out a roll of labels for you for a nominal charge.

Tips on Making Good Labels

  • Write, type or print the complete address neatly.
  • Always use complete address information, such as St., Dr., Blvd
    Include the buyer’s apartment or suite number, if applicable.
  • Use the correct directions, such as N, E, S, W or combination.
  • Use the correct ZIP code and, when possible, add the four digit add-on. Be sure to hypenate the ZIP+4.
  • Always use the correct two state abbreviation.
  • When addressing at a P.O. box or rural route destination, include the buyer’s telephone number on the label.
  • When shipping outside the United States, include a contact name, telephone number and postal code on the label.
  • Always include your return address.
  • If you are using the USPS extra services such as Priority Mail, Insurance, etc., note this above the destination address and also to the right of the return address.
  • Always place the address label on the top of the box. If you use a packing invoice, try to place it on the same surface as the address label.
  • Don’t place a label over a seam or closure.
  • Cover labels with clear tape to protect against moisture or rain causing your ink to run and smear. However, avoid covering bar codes with tape.

Print a Label thru eBay and PayPal:

If you are shipping via the U.S. Postal Service or UPS, you print labels on your home computer, including prepaid labels. Skip standing in line at the post office and go direct and do it yourself. You can easily print out these labels from eBay and pay for them using PayPal.

  • Go to “My eBay” -> “All Selling” -> “Sold”
  • Click “Print Shipping Label” to the right of the item to ship.
  • You will be taken to the PayPal website.
  • Login to continue.
  • Your preferred shipping service that you specified in eBay will be selected, however, you can change between USPS and UPS under “Shipment Information.”
  • Choose your “Service type, Package size andweight.” You may need to fill in the dimensions of your package.
  • Select any other Shipment options.
  • Verify everything is correct, then click“Continue” to go the confirmation screen.

 

  • Verify all information then click “Pay and Continue” button
  • Next screen is a preview of your label
  • Ensure printer is loaded with paper or printing labels*.
  • Click the “Print Label” button. Once complete, the browser will display a confirmation page with instructions for voiding labels in case of error.

Note: These self-printed labels print on a half a normal 8 1/2 x 11″ sheet of paper. A good alternative is to print on a two-per-page weatherproof self-adhesive mailing label, like the Avery #5526. In addition, printing your own USPS labels gets your delivery confirmation, at no additional charge.

Once your label is affixed to your package, all you have left is to get it to the Post Office or hand it off to your local postal worker on his or her rounds.

End of e-BOOK: Pack It Up!

 

Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

Listing your items

Let’s begin! Start by entering keywords to describe your item and clicking “Search”. For this eBook, we’ll use “Levi 501 Jeans” for our example.

V SELECT CATEGORY SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

Note: Place your mouse cursor over images with a blue border to view full image size.

Select the category or categories for your new listing.

V SELECT CATEGORY2 SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

 

If variations are supported for those categories, you’ll be prompted to choose whether you want to create a listing with variations. Select Yes and click the Continue button to complete the following steps in the List Your Variations tool.

V START SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

Variation details describe the differences between your items, such as color or size. Select from the list of variation details provided (if there are any), or enter your own variation by clicking the Add your own variation detail link. You can select up to 5 variation details, with up to 30 values for each listing.

V START2 SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

Example: If you’re selling shoes, you can have up to 5 different variation details – for instance, Color, Size, Width, Material, and Style. For each variation detail, you can have up to 30 different values. In this example, you could offer up to 30 different colors, 30 sizes, 30 widths, 30 types of material, and 30 styles. You don’t need to use all the choices you see in the list or if a variation detail doesn’t apply to your items, then ignore it. When you name variation details use common words that buyers use when they search, such as Size and Color. In some categories certain words, such as Brand and Condition, can’t be used for variation details.

In our example, let’s add Waist Size, which is already listed as a variation. We’ll choose sizes 30, 32, 34 and 36 for the Waist Size. You can add up to 30 choices of Waist Sizes.

V WAIST SIZE SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

Next, I want to add Color as a choice for the buyer. I click “Add your own variation detail” and enter “Color” for the choice and then add the first variation of that choice. In this case, I’ll start with “Black” and then click Save.

V COLOR SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

Next, I’ll add my other Color choices. Click the (+) sign by Color to add another Color choice.

V CHOICES SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

Note: The first variation detail you select will be the one that is displayed in your pictures. Be sure that the first variation detail you select is one that can be seen in pictures, such as color or sleeve style instead of size or manufacturer. When you’re done with this step, click the Continue button.

V ITEM SPECIFICS SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

Define other details about your items

Item specifics are characteristics that apply to all the items in your listing. Select item specifics such as Brand or Manufacturer from the list.

If an item specific you need doesn’t appear in the list, click theAdd your own item specific button and enter a unique item specific name (such as Manufacturer or Year) and at least one value (such as Acme or 1999).  If an item specific doesn’t apply to your listing, just ignore it.

The variation details you defined initially don’t appear in the item specifics list, and you can’t add them to the list.
For Example: If you’ve already selected “Color” as a variation detail, you can’t enter it as an item specific. You can add as many as 15 item specifics. Include as many of the item specifics as you can for your item. The more specifics you use, the easier it is for buyers to find your items. When you’re done, click the Continue button at the bottom.

Next, enter a Name or a SKU for your variations and click theCreate variations button.

V SKU SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

V SKU LIST SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

eBay will automatically create a list of all the variations of your product. Edit the list to remove any extra variations until the list includes only the items you’re selling. The list eBay creates uses the information you provided:

  • The variation details
  • The optional custom label or SKU

You can also create your list of variations manually. Enter a name or SKU in the table and select the variation details from the drop-down menus until you generate a list of the items you’re selling.

You can also rename the SKU for each item to make each easier to read.
For example: LEVI_501_JEANS_3-1_B-1 is the SKU for my Levi 501 Size 30 Black Jeans. I renamed the SKU toLEVI_501_JEANS_30_BLACK for better clarity.

When you’re done with this step, click the Continue button.

Next, we’ll add images.

V ADD PICTURES SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

Shared pictures show general views of your items. Variation pictures show the differences in the items. For your shared pictures, you can show all the variations you’re selling in a single picture (such as all the Colors), a pair of your items, a close-up, or other alternate views. The shared pictures are used as a default if you don’t add any variation pictures.

Example: If I don’t include a picture of the black jean variation, buyers will see the shared picture that shows all the colors for the jeans when they select the black jeans.
For variation pictures, show off your items’ individual colors or the first variation detail you defined. To add pictures that show a different variation detail, click the Change variation button.

V CHANGE VARIATION SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

Note: If you change the variation detail that you’re showing in the pictures, you’ll delete all the variation pictures you’ve already uploaded.

To add a Shared picture for your items, click Add pictures.

Next, click Browse. Navigate to the picture on your computer you want to use and select it by clicking on it and then clickingOpen. You can now repeat the same process for each variation if you want. You can add as many as 12 shared pictures and as many as 12 pictures per variation detail. You don’t have to add pictures for every value of the variation detail you’re showing.

  • To see how your pictures will appear to buyers, look at the What buyers see section on the right side of the page.
  • To see how your pictures and variations appear in the listing, click the Preview your listing link.
When you’re done adding pictures, click the Continue button.

Enter your quantity and price information for your items

To enter or revise the price for several variations at a time,select the variations you want to edit and click the Edit Fixed Price button.

V EDIT PRICES SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

Enter the price for the variations.  

V EDIT FIXED PRICE SM Using Variations for eBay Power Sellers Listings

Next, enter the quantity of each item that you are selling.

Review your items and make any adjustments necessary.

To see how this information will appear in the listing click thePreview your listing link. After your listing is active, you can use this page to monitor your listing, update the quantity when you add stock, and change the price of a variation.

Click the Save button to save your variation information.

Continue filling out the Sell Your Item form to complete your listing as you normally would for any other listing.

Note: you cannot switch to simple form with variations.

Viewing and managing listings

To view and manage your listings with variations, go to the Sellsection of My eBay, and then click the Active link.

The Active section shows your current listings and links to your listings with variations. Click the Go to variations button to view your listings with variations.

When viewing the listings, click the Show Variations button to expand the listings to show all variations.

If your variations have a range of prices, the price column shows the lowest available item price until you click the Show Variations button to expand the listing. When the listing expands to show all item variations, you’ll see the individual prices for each variation.

The expanded also shows: 

  • Variation details in the item column
  • The number of buyers watching the item
  • The price of the individual variation
  • The time left for the listing
  • A drop-down menu with common actions such as Sell Similar and Revise

Sorting
Items are sorted from the unexpanded view only. If you sort by price, the lowest available item price is used for items with variations.

Restocking
If an item needs to be restocked:

  • You’ll see an “out of stock” note in the item listing and an information flag.
  • The drop-down menu shows the restock option, and directs you to the Revise your item page.

You can also view your scheduled, sold, and unsold listings with variations in My eBay.

Snap! Creating Power Selling Pictures for eBay

The use of pictures in your listings greatly increases the odds of actually selling your items and increases the average price you will receive. That in itself is more than enough reason to learn to use images on eBay! Simply stated, eBay buyers want to see what they are going to buy, including the good and the bad. Using photos will generate more traffic and interest in your product. Photos should be clear, uncluttered, focused and large enough to clearly show the item.

Creating, editing and adding pictures to your listing is a fairly easy process and involves three steps:

  1. Take some pictures of your item
  2. Edit the pictures
  3. Upload your pictures to your listing

First, let’s gather up our needed supplies:

  • Digital Camera
  • Proper lighting (built in flash is fine)
  • Tripod (not necessar but a plus)
  • Clean area with a plain background (you can use a nice sheet)
  • Scanner (you can scan regular photos if needed or for flat items)
  • Graphics-editinig software
  • Web picture hosting service (optional)

Camera

Today, there is hardly a reason that one does not have a digital camera. They are everywhere, they are inexpensive and they are far more functional for use with the internet. You probably even have a digital camera on your cell phone! If you don’t have a digital camera and you plan on making selling on eBay more than a passing fancy, now is the time to buy a digital camera. You don’t need a $1000 digital SLR camera to take good pictures for eBay. Just about any digital camera will work, however, your camera should have a macro mode to allow you to take close up pictures without blurring the photo. If you absolutely refuse to go digital, no problem. Let’s look at the options:

  1. You can take a picture with a regular camera and have the film developer convert your prints or negatives directly into digital files on a CD-ROM.
  2. You can take a picture with a regular camera, have the film developed and scan the prints into your computer using a flatbed scanner.
  3. Take a picture with a digital camera

Film Developing

If you don’t have a digital camera and you’re not ready to shell out any money for one, you can use a regular film camera to take pictures of your item and then have your film developer convert your prints on to a CD-ROM. Ensure your developer can do this before dropping off your film. This is fine for someone starting up on eBay or only occasionally selling. The problems with doing this are the costs associated with buying and developing the film (which in a short amount of time will cost more than buying a digital camera). Also, as a part of developing – whether by machine or person – irreversible decisions will be made in regards to the tone, brightness, and other aspects of the image files.

Flatbed Scanners

Flatbed scanners create digital images of flat or nearly flat items. Flat items such as trading cards, coins, stamps, etc. don’t require you to take pictures if you have a scanner. You will have better images of flat items if you scan them versus photograph them. Scanners also allow you to scan print pictures of your item.

Digital Cameras

Digital camera work just like regular cameras do. They have a lens, a flash, a shutter but instead of using film, they record on a small microchip containing millions of receptors. Images are stored on a small, removable chip or disk inside the camera. Digital images can be transferred to your computer by removing the chip or disk from the camera and inserting it directly into your computer or by connecting special cables from your digital camera to your computer. You should have received the proper cable with your camera when you purchased it. The process of transferring images varies from make and model of camera. Please consult your camera’s user manual for more details for your camera and the process your camera uses to transfer images.

A really nice feature of digital cameras are the ability to see what each picture looks like once taken by reviewing it on your camera, in addition, a camera with a standard 2MB card can store anywhere from 200-600 pictures, depending on your camera. You can simply take a lot more pictures with a digital camera than you can with a film camera, unless you are willing to spend a lot of money! Have a bad picture, just delete it and take another. It is much better to take too many pictures than having too few to chose from.

What to look for in a Digital Camera: A Buyer’s Checklist

  • Buy the best you can afford – remember, you get what you pay for. You won’t need the best, most expensive camera out there but do a little research and find one that will suit your needs best.
  • Make sure your camera is at least 2.0 Megapixels or higher. A pixel is a basic unit of programmable color in a computer image, so the higher the number, the higher the quality of the image.
  • Stick with Brand Names – Stick with reputable camera brands such as Sony, Nikon, Canon, Kodak, Olympus, Fuji, HP, Leica, etc. If you haven’t heard of the brand, best to avoid it.
  • Must have Macro – make sure your camera has ‘macro’ mode which allows you to take up close pictures without losing focus.
  • Handy Features – Zoom, Autofocus and Autoexposure make taking good photos easier. These features usually come standard.
  • New or Used – Don’t have a ton of money to spend? Consider buying a used camera off eBay!
  • Make it complete – if you are buying a used camera, ensure that it contains all the contents of the original package, including software, cables, user manual, software and any accessories.

It never hurts to look around for good deals before buying. Do your research online for different models that are available before buying. There is a wealth of online information available at site like Digital Photography Review at www.dpreview.com and CNET reviews (http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-cameras).

Taking Pictures – Tips for Great Pictures

  • The Right Light – One of the worst photographic offenses you can do is to shoot under standard indoor room light. Although you can touch up the photo somewhat afterward, you can’t put in light that wasn’t there to begin with. Open all the windows, turn on all the room lights, use a flash (but judiciously-you want to avoid glare on your item), or just take the item outdoors to shoot-do whatever it takes to create a well-lighted photograph.
  • Avoid Glare – If you’re shooting a glass or plastic item, or an item still in plastic wrap or packaging, or just an item that’s naturally shiny, you have to work hard to avoid glare from whatever lighting source you’re using. This is one reason why I typically don’t recommend using the type of single-point flash built into most of today’s digital cameraswithout any fill lighting, it produces too much glare.
  • Avoid Glare (Continued) – You avoid glare by not using a flash, using external lights (to the sides of the object), diffusing the lighting source (by bouncing the light off a reflector of some sort), or just turning the item until the glare goes away. A simpler solution is to shoot in an area with strong natural lightlike outside on a nice day.
  • Background Check- If you shoot your object against a busy background, it detracts from the main point of the photograph. Hang a white or black sheet (or T-shirt) behind the item; it will make the main object stand out a lot better than a picture of it sitting on your cluttered counter or table.
  • Focus! Okay, this one sounds obvious, but you will see a lot of blurry pictures on eBay. Make sure you know how to focus your camera, or how to use the auto-focus function. Also – and this is particularly important if you’re shooting in low-light conditions – remember to hold the camera steady. A little bit of camera shake makes for a blurry photo. Either learn how to steady the camera or buy a cheap tripod to hold the camera for you.
  • Frame – To take effective photographs, you have to learn proper composition. That means centering the item in the center of the photo, and getting close enough to the object so that it fills up the entire picture. Don’t stand halfway across the room and shoot a very small object; get close up and make it big!
  • Take more than one – Don’t snap off a quick picture and assume you’ve done your job. Shoot your item from several different angles and distances – and remember to get a close-up of any important area of the item, such as a serial number or a damaged area. You may want to include multiple photos in your listing or just have a good selection of photos to choose from for that one best picture. The benefit of using a digital camera is it doesn’t cost you any extra money to take more pictures.
  • Set the camera to a medium resolution (for example 1024×768 pixels). This provides excellent photo quality and results in a faster upload time for pictures used on eBay. It is also good for photo editing.

Using Stock Images

If you’re selling a book, an audio book, an audio cassette, a CD, a DVD, a VHS tape, or a video game, you might not need any photos at all. That’s because eBay automatically inserts a stock product photo when you use the pre-filled item description option to create your item listing. If the item you’re selling is listed in eBay’s product database and you like the photo they provide save yourself the trouble and let eBay insert the picture for you.

Edit the Image File

After you’ve taken your digital photos (typically in a JPG-format file, the graphics file type of choice for eBay), you can do a little editing to “clean it up” for eBay use.

What kinds of editing needs to be? Here’s a short list:

  • Lighten up photos shot in low light.
  • Correct the color and tint in poorly shot photos.
  • Crop the picture to focus on only the subject at hand.
  • Resize the image to fit better in your eBay listings. (Too big a picture won’t fit within a normal Web browser window.)
  • Decrease the resolution or color count to produce a smaller-sized file.
  • Pictures may need to be rotated.

Graphics-Editing Software

How do you do all this? You need an image-editing program. Although hard-core picture fanatics swear by the extremely full-featured (and very expensive) Adobe Photoshop CS, there are several lower-cost programs that perform just as well for the type of editing you’ll be doing.

These programs include the following:

Resizing Your Photos

eBay used to be very limited in the size of your image, however with digitial cameras and their ever increasing resolution, eBay has adjusted the size of the image you are allowed to upload. eBay recommends a While you’re editing, remember to resize your photo to best fit within your eBay listing. eBay recommends that your images are more than 1600 pixels in height or width. eBay will automatically resize your image to fit within your listing. eBay’s ‘Enhanced Picture Uploader’ and ‘Picture Manager’ also provide photo-editing features. The three basic types of edits are crop, rotate, and resize. The added advantage of resizing your images down in size is that they will also download faster – helpful for those poor souls using dialup internet connections.

Save Your Photo

Save your edited picture as a JPEG (.jpg) file. eBay also accepts the following formats

  • BMP (.bmp file extension) – an old format
  • GIF (.gif file extension)
  • TIFF (.tif file extension) – file size usually very large
  • PNG (.png file extension) – newer version of a .gif, this is a good format to use

Here’s how (in many programs):

  • Click the File menu.
  • Select Save As…
  • When the Save As dialog box appears, name your file.
  • Use the Save as type pull-down menu, select JPEG (.jpg), PNG (.png) or GIF (.gif).
  • Click Save or OK.

Note: Before you start the upload process, rename your photo files with names that will help you remember what they are, and collect them in a central place on your computer so you can find them quickly and easily.

Upload Your Image to the Internet – Or Use eBay Photo Services

eBay’s uploader lets you add ( or “upload” ) a picture to your listing. eBay has four types: Standard, Basic, Enhanced, and Copy Web Files. Alternatively, you can use Self-Hosting to display pictures that are stored on a server or web site other than eBay. The Self-Hosting option does not require uploading.

Note: If you’re new to eBay, you may see only the Standard or Basic uploader. Which one appears will depend on whether or not you have Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or later) installed already. To use the Enhanced or Copy Web Files uploader, or to use the Self-Hosting option, select the “Add or remove options” link located in the “Bring your item to life with pictures” header, then select the check box for the picture hosting option of your choice.

eBay Photo Uploaders

Using the Standard or Basic Uploader

This topic was covered earlier in e-BOOK: Listing an Item on eBay: Keep It Simple. Here is a brief step through:

To add pictures to your listing using standard or basic uploader:

  1. In the Bring your pictures to life section on the Create your listing page, click the “Add Pictures” button. A pop-up window will appear with the Standard tab selected if you have the Flash (version 9 or later) software installed. If you don’t have the Flash software, the Basic tab will be selected.
  2. Click the “Browse” button and locate the picture on your computer that you want to be uploaded.
  3. Select the picture you want to upload, then click the “Open” button.
  4. The Standard tab will be shown with the picture you’ve selected for upload If you want to use the Basic uploader instead, click the “Try the Basic Uploader” link on the top-right corner.
  5. Click the “Upload” button.
  6. The picture will be uploaded to the Create Your Listing page, under the “Bring your item to life to pictures section”
  7. Repeat as needed til all pictures are uploaded.

Using the Enhanced Uploader

If you’re using Windows 2000, XP or Vista and Internet Explorer 6.0 or later, you can use the Enhanced uploader. This is available when using “Customized Listings.”

Note: You’ll need to click “Add or remove options,” located next to “Bring your item to life with pictures.” (See the screen for step 5 above.) The Enhanced uploader will then be available.

To add pictures to your listing using enhanced uploader:

  1. In the “Bring your pictures to life” section on the Sell Your Item form, click the “Add Pictures”button.
  2. Click the “Enhanced” tab, then the “Upload”button. The Open screen will appear with a list of pictures.
  3. Select the picture you want to upload, then click the “Open” button.
  4. The picture will appear under the Enhanced tab. You can rotate, crop, or adjust the contrast and brightness of the picture before uploading by clicking the buttons above the large preview of the picture.
  5. Click the “Upload” button.
  6. The picture will be uploaded to the Create Your Listing page, under the “Bring your item to life to pictures section”

Using the Copy Web Files Uploader

You can upload your pictures from a website instead of from your hard drive using Copy Web Files. Your pictures will then be optimized automatically for use on eBay and will be stored by eBay.

Note: For the Copy Web Files option to be available, you need to select the “Show/Hide Options” on the Sell: Create Your Listing page.

To add pictures to your listing using copy web files:

  1. In the “Bring your pictures to life” section on the Sell Your Item form, click the “Add Pictures” button.
  2. Select the “Copy Web Files” tab.

    COPY WEB FILES Snap! Creating Power Selling Pictures for eBay

  3. Enter the URL, locate the pictures you want to upload, and then click “Add.”
4. The web address (URL) will appear in the Pictures URL column with the status “Complete.”
5. Click the “Copy to eBay” button.
6. The picture will be uploaded to the Create Your Listing page, in the “Bring your item to life to pictures” section.

 

Using Self-Hosting for Your Pictures

You can link to pictures you’ve stored on a website or web server rather than on eBay. For example, if you store pictures on space your Internet service provider (ISP) has given you, or on a website that stores pictures for you, you can enter the web address (URL) of a picture that’s stored there using the Self-Hosting tab. That picture will then appear in your listing.

If you need a site that specializes in storing image files for eBay users, take a look at these sites:

Most of these sites are free but some may charge a small fee for hosting your pictures, either on a monthly basis for a certain amount of storage space or on a per-picture basis. Compare the fees at these sites with what you’ll pay at eBay, and then make the smart choice.

Note: To display more than one self-hosted picture on eBay, you’ll need to use HTML in your listing description. To make your listing appear quickly enough not to inconvenience buyers, the file size for your picture should be under 50 KB (kilobytes).

To add pictures to your listing using self-hosting:

  1. In the Bring your pictures to life section on the Sell Your Item form, click the “Insert Pictures” button. A pop-up window will appear.
  2. Select the “Self-hosting” tab.

    Note: If you don’t see the Self-Hosting tab, selectShow/Hide Options on the Sell: Create Your Listing page. The Self-Hosting tab will then be available.

SELF HOSTING Snap! Creating Power Selling Pictures for eBay

3. Enter the URL to select the picture you want to use.
4. Click the “Insert Picture” button.

 

Replacing pictures

eBay does not automatically overwrite and upload pictures you’ve retaken or edited on your computer. To replace a picture with an edited version, delete the existing picture and upload the picture again.

Picture Fees

When you have eBay host your photos, you have some choices to make. If you want to show only one picture, you’re okay with eBay. If you want to show more than one photo, or if you want to show larger photos, you can still use eBay, you’ll just have to pay for it.

Here’s how eBay Picture Services’ fee structure works:

  • First twelve photos: Free.
  • Gallery Plus ($0.35) Displays large pictures in search results when user mouses over listing image.

Summary:

Here are the key points to remember from this chapter:

  • Adding a picture to your item listing will increase the number of bids you receive and increases the value of those bids.
  • The easiest way to take pictures of the items you want to sell is with a digital camera-unless you have a small, flat item, in which case scanning is probably better.
  • Take the best picture possible, and then edit the picture (in a graphics editing program) to make it look even better.
  • You can choose to let eBay host your pictures (with some potential cost), or you can find a third-party hosting service.
  • You add photos to your listings when you’re creating the item listing, on the Describe Your Item page.
  • Using the Customized Listing process will give you access to more advanced picture options.

Latest Articles

Power Sellers Center – eBay Product Sourcing Secrets

Many an aspiring eBay seller has been put off by many a bad product sourcing experience. Just imagine… you come across what seems to be a great product offering: hundreds of a HOT product that was sure to sell for a massive profit. You make the purchase, emptying your 401K account and stocking up your garage with cases and cases only to find that these products simply did not sell on eBay.

It is a heartbreaking experience, and that could put a damper on your aspirations to become a power seller on eBay. These are the secrets of purchasing and selling products on eBay. These are designed to prevent you from being in a similar situation, in addition to providing the information you need to know to find items to resell on eBay and profit time and again.

Secret No. 1: Be careful when you buy in bulk

Buy in bulk can be a great way to get significant gains in eBay, is likely to receive the items at a lower price than most products you buy. If you do not have storage space if, or simply the lack of capital to invest in the beginning, buying in bulk is not a good option for you.

Even if you have the initial capital and financial storage space to buy a batch of a particular item, you must always be assured that you will actually be able to sell this product. If a wholesaler, you will use to buy a lot of what you sell, why not apply for an order of smaller sample from the start. This not only gives you peace of mind with respect to the quality of your products, but you’ll also be able to see what will actually sell on eBay.

Secret No. 2: Try different sourcing strategies

Rome was not built in a day and neither will your business on the Internet. There are many different places where you can source merchandise for your eBay store. You can start by selling items you no longer need around your home, or finding cheap textbooks charity shops, which are in demand. You may prefer to use a dropshipper for you to avoid having to make an inventory of your account, instead of relying on your chosen dropshipping company view the article in question to the winning bidders.

Instead of assuming that the first time you try purchasing strategy is that we must adhere to, why not look around and try different ideas to find the best method of supply of goods for sale to maximize profits by selling .

Secret No. 3: If at first you do not succeed…

It would be nice to provide a product sourcing eBay secrets that work every time, but sometimes it is very likely some people may find themselves in a situation where you can not sell items for profit. It is unfortunate that an event happens almost every eBay seller at some point in their marketing career. If you are in a situation where you simply can not move the goods you have bought yourself does not win, but we do know that almost every seller of success has been where you are and have gone to create your very own highly profitable business.

New for 2015 – How To Start Your Own Business Fast

If you’re tired of working for others and just wish you could create your own business that earns a steady stream of income, you’re in luck. There is a way to get into business fast without having to pay out a lot of money to do so. Forget franchises and walk away from creating a whole venture from the ground up, if you want to get going fast eBay is the place to explore.

eBay? Why eBay?

If you’re interested in selling products online business trainers will gladly tell you this is the venue to use to get going in a successful venture with expediency. eBay offers newcomers to online sales a great deal of potential. Work with a trainer to get started and you’ll find that it’s:

  • Affordable to get started – You don’t need thousands and thousands of dollars to launch an eBay storefront. In fact, you can get going – and even find new products to sell – for less than a few hundred.
  • Easy to establish – eBay storefronts are very simple to create and eBay provides you with all the ecommerce tools you need to serve customers.
  • Great for working with dropshippers – Dropshippers are basically catalog sales businesses that cater to online sellers. Rather than ask you to buy and inventory in advance, they will enable you to sell products from your eBay storefront and then place an order on your customer’s behalf. This saves you from paying for an inventory or having to mess around with shipping.

With millions of users already going to eBay on a daily basis, this is a great venue to explore for online sales. If you’re ready to launch fast, work with a reputable trainer to gain the insights you need to get going right. The best will provide you with market research information, access to dropshippers and insights on how to make your business really earn.

Exploring eBay Potential in 2015

When you’re ready to go into business online, you want a venue for selling that’s likely to assist you in your venture toward success. When reinventing the wheel doesn’t appeal, eBay might. Use this site to sell products and it’s possible you’ll never need or want a complicated, hard-to-run standalone ecommerce website. Power Sellers Center can help you get there!

What makes eBay the superior choice for many sellers? There are a variety of reasons why thousands of sellers from all over the world bank on eBay to help them earn money. Here are just a few of them:

  • The established presence – eBay has been online helping others make sales since the early 1990s. This site is simply very well trusted in the online retail arena. Its presence is recognized in countries all over the world, too.
  • The tools for sellers – eBay has worked hard to make it easy for sellers to market their wares. In fact, it even offers online storefronts now. These are sort of like standalone websites found in the middle of the “eBay marketplace.” The tools provided give sellers everything they need to show off their products, pull in potential buyers and handle transactions are they happen.
  • The traffic numbers – eBay is visited by thousands and thousands of people on a daily basis – seven days a week. This venue never closes and it boasts almost 100 million users from all over the globe. The potential for exposure this provides is amazing for sellers that want to earn a living through online marketing.
  • The reputation – eBay has a stellar reputation in online sales. When sellers establish here they can only benefit from this reputation. eBay is very well known the world over and it’s also known for letting the community of buyers and sellers police itself. This makes it a trusted resource for buyers.

The potential eBay has to offer sellers in the online world should not be underestimated. With heavy traffic, incredible sales and great tools, you can establish a successful venture here in no time at all.

Product Sourcing: China: Dropshipping for Profits

Importing From China for Larger Profits

Importing from China and the Far East is of course not a new business idea. In fact, fortunes have been made trading with China for centuries, dating back to the ancient Silk Road and medieval spice trade.

In the past twenty years, China has emerged as the world’s dominant manufacturing base for an ever-increasing range of products, and this now includes high-tech consumer electronics products such as mobile phones, computers, and TV / home entertainment systems. For international business people in a position to use their know-how and contacts to buy from China and sell in their home markets, the profit opportunities are massive.

International consumers are hungry to snap up cheaper and ultra-cheap imported goods, and China’s enormous low-wage workforce, accompanied by more and more relaxed business regulations, mean that the cheapest mass produced goods come from China and “Made In China” will continue to be the most common label on most consumer goods for years to come.

You don’t have to be a big, established company, or an import expert to begin taking advantage of buying low in China and selling high at home.

Where can you look at examples of the smaller businesses that are already taking advantage of the low cost of Chinese electronics and other products?

Supplier Product Sourcing:  China: Dropshipping for Profits
Shop on eBay? Buy any clothes lately? Enjoy electronics? You name it? Well, just in case you hadn’t noticed, most merchandise is from China – it’s not just Wal-Mart doing it anymore.

Here are the biggest hubs of small-business online sellers for you to research. Many successful eBay sellers today are already using the China-cheap-import model to make big bucks, and you can learn a lot by seeing how their businesses are operating:

If you take a look at these sellers’ products many of them are sourcing from China, and a lot of them drop-ship products directly from China, meaning they don’t even handle inventory.

You’d better believe that you can follow the same model for great import profits!

What Is “DropShipping” All About?

Drop-shipping (“dropshipping”) is a practice of selling someone a product that you don’t actually have in your hand.

Sound like a scam? Think again, it’s the new face of marketing and distribution in today’s information-driven market.

china business guide manufacturing suppliers chinese vendors logo Product Sourcing:  China: Dropshipping for Profits

Here is what you do if you are a drop-ship seller:

1. You research good products to sell. You do the research to locate a good supplier of these products and establish a buyer relationship.

2. Next you advertise their products to your market, e.g. to your shop’s customers, to your online auction viewers, in a magazine, etc just as you would market your own product.

3. You receive and process orders for the products from the customers, and take their payment.

4. You use this payment to go to the supplier of the products and buy the goods you need from them.

5. The supplier sends the goods directly to the customer without you having to handle the products or any stock.

6. For an extra fee, many drop-ship suppliers will also brand the packaging and invoices with your name/logo so it looks to the end customer like the goods have been dispatched from the same exact company that they ordered from.

Drop-shipping is a classic exploitation of ecommerce online, because customers don’t expect to see the goods when they order. If you walk into a regular store and the manager asks you to put down money for goods which aren’t even there, and will be delivered to you later from another shop which quite possibly you could buy from directly, would you still make the purchase? Maybe. Online, however, the source of the goods isn’t always quite so clear; buyers are more likely going to send you money for your products which in fact are sourced from somewhere else.

The obvious advantage of drop-ship selling is that you can make profits selling any sort of deliverable goods, without having to take the risk of investing in stock, and without the costs and hassles associated with packing and delivering goods. Your selling business could also be very scalable, going from a few orders to a few hundred without significantly increasing your workload or operating costs.

Drop-shipping can also be a source of efficiency for distributors or wholesalers because drop-ship sellers do much of the marketing work for their products which the larger companies wouldn’t spare the investment, time, or expertise to do in so many worldwide markets. Because the drop-ship seller frequently will handle much of the customer service and also consolidate several small orders into reasonable larger order quantities, the large distributors will see small drop-ship sellers as good business partners.

However, there is more complexity to drop-shipping than meets the eye, and since it’s so easy to start up a drop-shipping business you need to be aware of some of the risks and downsides before you plunge in.

d2g suppliers chinese suppliers bottom banner Product Sourcing:  China: Dropshipping for Profits

Is Drop-Shipping For You?

Drop-ship selling can be a great way to make good profits from a small and fast start-up business idea.

It can also potentially bring good value to your customers, because although you are marking up the cost of the goods for your profit, you may be bringing your market products which they otherwise can’t obtain or didn’t know about. You could also be adding value to the buyer’s experience by creating good product combinations, making ordering easier and more secure, improving product information and customer support, and assisting with import issues.

BUT, drop-shipping is not a simple thing to succeed at. Many people are succeeding at it, but you need to have a reasonable business common sense and be aware of the potential difficulties you will face.
Let’s say you find a really good product and you have a good supplier for that product who will drop-ship to your customers. Let’s also say you have the know-how to market this product to the right customers. You’ve got the makings of success already and are off to a great start. Now you need to think ahead about how your business is going to work…

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Drop-Shipping – The Perfect Zero-Risk Enterprise?

While dropshipping has it’s ups, it is important to give some warnings about drop-shipping as a business plan. It can be great and I don’t want you to go away from this section totally discouraged, but on the other hand everyone needs to face up to reality in the cold light of day.

Too often when I am reading “guaranteed success” type websites I read sales copy from people who are trying to sell you drop-shipping directories or related services, and they don’t like to show you the other side of the coin!

Here are the basic downsides (cons) of drop-shipping you need to consider:

  • You are not in control.
    Since you are not the manufacturer or original supplier of the goods, you are at their mercy. What if their business starts being unreliable, untrustworthy, or even goes bust? What if their export regulations or your import regulations change? Without a supply of goods your business may quickly be finished.
  • Stock Shortages.
    Even if your supplier is a good one, inevitably they will often go out of stock on certain goods, or change their product range. If you aren’t completely up-to-date with what your supplier has available, you could find yourself with dissatisfied customers facing long delays because they have paid you for a product which is now on back-order or not even available any more.
  • I didn’t want a full-time business!
    As a drop-shipper you may be tempted to move quickly into several product areas in a bid to get the easy profits you dreamed of. Perhaps you hit on something very successful. You could rapidly find your sales expanding beyond what you originally thought you would have to deal with in the “simple” drop-ship business model.

Can You Keep Everything Under Control?

If you are successful at drop-ship selling, you could quickly find yourself overwhelmed with all the problems of running a business that you thought you were going to be able to avoid:

  • Taxes
  • Customer service
  • Pre-sales and after-sales product technical support
  • Product returns support
  • Legal issues
  • Growing overhead, if you need support staff or office space
  • Accounting and record-keeping
  • Marketing budgets
  • Time management problems and personal stress, etc.
  • Competitors
    Drop-ship suppliers tend not to offer exclusive agreements to anyone in particular. That means that with the right base and know-how, any other drop-ship selling business can relatively swiftly copy your successful model and compete with you or take down your business completely.
  • Online Factors
    Since most drop-ship sellers will be running most of their marketing through internet channels, they will be exposed to all the risks associated with online business. These include people copying your web content without authorization, ever-increasing advertising costs, ever-increasing competition especially from large companies, and unpredictable customer traffic, if relying on search engines. There is a lot to learn if you are new!
  • As a drop-shipper, the brands and products aren’t yours, you may not be an expert in the product area, and you have no physical / personal presence for your customers. So you will have to work extra hard to build your company’s identity and repeat-customer business.

In short, running an online business carries the same risks and rewards as running a traditional store. Having a good business plan and making good business choices will ultimately determine whether you are successful or not.

Drop-shipping from China

It is likely that during your search for a good product supplier in China, that not a lot of Chinese suppliers will really know what you are talking about if you ask about “drop-shipping.” Mainly because small order quantities for international orders are still a new thing in many product areas, so even the term ‘dropshipping’ may be unknown.

Fortunately, there are many distributors in China who have websites, and offer low to no minimum order quantities, and are able to drop-ship to customers all over the world. However, the factories many distriubutors source their products from would never be able to deliver single items, even if they could cope with the logistical complications involved with so many small packages. It’s the same with most factories – they won’t do small orders.

So if you are looking for China drop-ship suppliers, you may need to look closer at distributors and trading companies instead of trying to head straight for the factories.

In principle, Chinese suppliers probably won’t have any problems sending goods to your customers. If they can already send samples or packages to your address, then why not to someone else’s? The key really is finding suppliers with a low enough minimum order quantity (MOQ). Even if you find a supplier with a MOQ of 10 pieces you may be able to drop-ship 5 of those to your customers and the others to yourself as a sort of combination of dropshipping and holding inventory. Or some suppliers may let you pay in advance for say 100 pieces and then ship them in small batches to different locations later.

The perfect situation is to find a Chinese supplier who can reliably and efficiently dropship single item packages anywhere in the world. If you approach Chinese suppliers and simply ask “do you drop-ship?” you may not get very clear answers because they may not understand the question.

Here are suggestions for the questions you should ask any possible Chinese suppliers you may be looking at working with:

  • Do you have a minimum order quantity? Can I order one piece at a time?
  • Can you ship to [country]?
  • Is it OK to ship directly to my customers?
  • If you ship to my customers can you also provide me with invoices?
  • If you shipped directly to my customers could you guarantee that your packages and invoice would not identify your company? (This is one of the hardest things!)
  • Would you be able to label the packages and invoice with my own company name / logo? If so would you charge an extra fee for this?
  • If I order 20 pieces but ship to 20 different addresses, how can I do this? Do I have to make 20 separate orders? And if so do I still get the 20 piece quantity discount?

You will also need to discuss shipping options:

  • What method of shipping do you use?
  • How to quote / pay
  • How fast do you ship
  • How to get tracking details
  • How to deal with customs and taxes
  • How to deal with delivery problems
  • How to deal with returns

Obviously some of these things you will work out as you go along, but it’s a good idea to think about some of the issues that are likely to arise so you can prepare yourself.

104896 050 A6C0F6F0 Product Sourcing:  China: Dropshipping for Profits

Tips for Successful Drop-Shipping from China

  • It may seem obvious, but please check with your supplier whether they will dropship, before attempting to place a dropship order! Don’t dive into dropshipping and sell something to a customer, and THEN start asking your supplier if / how they can dropship. Do your homework!
  • Don’t make promises about delivery time to your customers until you have tried the supplier and you know they can deliver in the way you want. I strongly suggest you buy some items from your prospective supplier to get a good idea of how they perform before you go public!
  • Under no circumstances should you drop-ship items that you have never seen. Your first couple of orders should be to yourself to inspect the goods and assess the supplier’s service. This will also let you get an idea of the import tax situation for this particular product.
  • Follow good communication tips (Also in this Topic, see e-BOOK: Product Sourcing: China: Communication and Culture) for Chinese suppliers. Make requests not demands.

That’s enough for now about the general issues of drop-shipping. Let’s look at how to select the best products to sell, which is vital to successful drop-shipping or any importing business for that matter.

Choosing Profitable Products

Perhaps you already have an area of knowledge or expertise that leads you towards importing and selling a particular category of product. Or maybe you’ve been selling one type of product for a long time from local sources, and now you’re looking for alternative sources of the same product from overseas. Or maybe your plain new.

If you know exactly what products you need to source, your search is going to be narrower, and you can immediately focus on finding good suppliers for particular products and setting up initial deals.

But for a lot of people, especially those new to importing for resale on eBay, Yahoo! Stores, or online, it is sometimes a bewildering task to figure out what the best products are that are going to make you the maximum profit with the minimum headache .

Whatever your overall plan, it’s essential to do in-depth market research before you commit to a project. Business students learn that each investment of money means money not available for something else. The same goes for your energy, and time. You need to plan wisely so you don’t waste too much time, energy, and money on business projects that don’t have a solid foundation and good prospects.

Finding Products To Sell

There are essentially two strategies to take, if you’re looking around for new ideas about what to import and sell:

  • STRATEGY 1 – Play It Safe
    Find out what products and categories are currently hot sellers, and jump on the bandwagon. Get better quality products, cheaper prices, or better market penetration to compete with all the other people selling similar things.
  • STATEGY 2 – Get Ahead Of The Pack
    Find new, cutting-edge, or unique products that are little-known but, according to your background knowledge and research, have great selling potential.

STRATEGY 1 – Play It Safe

An example of this approach would be searching for good wholesale sources of Playstation or X-Box consoles. These are established hot-sellers, so you know there is a market for the products.

Advantages:

  • Relatively easy to find wholesale sources.
  • Easy to market as people already know the product (and want the product) and there are already information resources available relating to technical details.
  • Well-known or currently-hot-selling items may be selling at a premium, allowing you a greater profit margin.

Disadvantages:

  • Most of the hottest consumer items are also branded goods.
  • If you can find a source, so can others. Lots of other sellers will already be selling your chosen products.

If you “ride the wave” of the product popularity, there will come a stage when everything slows down, and if updates to the product are being released regularly, you could end up selling things that are out of date and depreciating fast.

women factory guangzhou Product Sourcing:  China: Dropshipping for Profits

Can you succeed if you are only following the herd?

Your competitors are selling the same products as you, and they are more experienced, have a bigger customer base, and better prices. Don’t give up!

With the correct approach and effort dedicated in the right directions, you can succeed using other people’s tried and tested formulas.

Here’s how you can persuade customers to shop with you instead:

  • Move faster than your competitors to bring newly released products to market.
  • Use quantity buying power to cut your buying costs and lower your prices.
  • Reach more customers. Take advantage of your location to market products. e.g. you may be the only person who has a source for this product in Timbuktu. Or your location may be virtual: maybe you are a regular contributor to an online community, and you have great connections for marketing products.
  • Have a better overall marketing strategy than your competitors. You can study marketing all your life, but even small changes can improve your sales. Some things to think about:

    • Improved product information and personalized pre-sales advice
    • Improved (personalized) customer support and knowledgeable technical support
    • Improved delivery of physical products (e.g. faster logistics, better packaging, free gifts, good tracking correspondence)
    • Warranties and guarantees
    • Quantity discounts and other special deals
    • Bundling, Upselling, and Combining products (e.g. software + hardware)
    • Promoting products to previous buyers
    • Strategic advertising (e.g. pay-per-click advertising online)
    • Traditional (offline) marketing

STATEGY 2 – Get Ahead Of The Pack

An example of this approach would be visiting trade fairs and even travelling overseas to ‘discover’ products with obvious selling potential.

Advantages:

  • Less competition to worry about.
  • Novelty value and “uniqueness” …the demand that means customers will pay higher prices.
  • You will develop expertise about your products quickly as you research sources, and as the first person to offer products you may gain respect and “expert status” in the marketplace.

Disadvantages:

  • You have a lot more marketing “legwork” to do, educating customers about the benefits of your product.
  • New products may have unforeseen / unpredictable drawbacks such as electronics developing faults.

New products could “go stale” quickly, especially in the world of technology, where your product could be suddenly rendered obsolete by a new and better product. At the least, products that are innovative may fall in price very quickly.

So Which Strategy Do You Recommend?

A combination of the two strategies will often work best.

For example, you know iPods are hot sellers, but the market is too crowded to profit from selling actual Apple iPods. What can you do?

You can seek out and market “related” or “alternative” products.

“Related” products would be iPod accessories like cases, speakers, and spare parts.

“Alternative” products would be other MP3 Players or MP4 Players for buyers who want a media player but not necessarily only an Apple iPod.

In this example: you identified iPods as hot sellers, but you are not selling iPods … Instead you are just profiting from the popularity of iPods. This sort of approach would let you “play it safe” while still being “ahead of the pack”.

What Are Niche Products Anyway?

Overall, people use the word “niche” to mean…

  • Not a mainstream product (although it may be in a mainstream category).
  • A product that may be difficult to buy in stores.
  • A product with a specialist application or special interest to a certain group of people, that make it a desirable purchase item for only that group.
  • A product with a reliable and predictable selling power because of its specialist appeal / necessity to a certain group.

It may seem surprising, but when people talk about finding “niche products,” this could in fact be part of a “play it safe” / “follow the crowd” strategy.

For example, you may target a well-known successful product category, but choose to focus on one particular narrow band of products… e.g. “sex toys” are known hot sellers, but you choose to specialize only in “Mongolian hand-crafted leather whips”. You may even source these from the same supplier as your competitors, but you put all your energy (& investment) into marketing this niche, and get successful by knowing a particular group of customers and their specialist tastes.

The other way to look at finding “niche products” is that you get ahead of the pack by identifying a particular specialized demand in the marketplace that is under-supplied , and then searching out a supply to match that demand.

Ways to source products other people aren’t supplying:

  • Supply foreign or very localized markets where the products are previously unknown or unobtainable;
  • Do thourough internet research to uncover suppliers whose products may be good, but marketing spread is poor;
  • Visit trade shows to discover the newest products;
  • Work with manufacturers to adapt designs or even develop totally new products.

Tips on: “Customer Group Niches”

Maybe it’s not the product that’s a ‘niche’, but the market area which you are selling to.

You can think about a “customer group niche” that lets you profit more from non-niche products. For example, lots of hobby and enthusiast markets will have a number of ultra-specialized products but there is also potential to sell more generic products to the same group at higher prices. E.g. people whose hobby is fishing will buy specialist products like fishing rods and lines, but they will also be interested in related but not particularly specialist items like bags, outdoor clothes, drink flasks, camping chairs etc.

If you can bring products to the right audience and save the customers the effort of searching in different places for what they need, they will be willing to pay the slightly higher prices that will improve your profits. It may be really convenient for them to shop for items together and not look around all sorts of different shops for their needs.

In the world of ecommerce, finding a “customer group niche” may just be a matter of keyword optimization. E.g. on eBay, instead of listing your item as “fingerless gloves” you list them as “fishing gloves” and in separate auctions as “sailing gloves”, “windsurfing gloves,” and “gloves for mountain biking”. Simply by capturing people who are already shopping in a particular hobby / enthusiast mindset, you will be more successful converting customers at good prices.

What Makes A Good Product?

Which is better – importing digital cameras, or importing digital camera bags?

Digital cameras are more profitable, of course. But cameras are expensive, possibly will lose value fast, and need insured shipping.

Camera bags are cheap to buy in quantity, can’t really go wrong, and easy to ship cheaply. On the other hand, you’ll have to sell a lot of camera bags to match the profit on a single camera sale.

There’s no right answer, but if you think about a variety of product types in your area of interest, it will lead you towards the right considerations for picking products:

  • Is the product legal to import and sell in your country? (and think about possible trademark issues if you are importing fake or “replica” or “look-a-like” items from Asia )
  • Is the product expensive to ship ? – heavy… or valuable?
  • Is the product in a category that is likely to be hit by significant customs taxes when it reaches you or your customer, the importer?
  • Is the product going to require technical knowledge from you, just to be able to market it and support your customers?
  • How much actual profit do you make per sale? A 4% profit on a $500 item is better than a 200% profit on a $1 item.

Can the financial base of your business handle the impact of negative events , such as refunding customers, non-delivered orders, or holding stock that is depreciating? Those are BIG questions about your whole business venture, but the type of products you’re dealing in will make a difference, particularly if they are high value.

Products To Avoid

  • Things that are widely and cheaply available in massive chain stores.
  • Things that have a short popularity lifespan.
  • Things that are so cheap your profit is too low to be worth the effort.
  • Things that depreciate or fluctuate in price (e.g. RAM and flash memory)
  • Things with a lot of options or variables that take too much time to process, pack, and deliver.
  • Things that break when you post them or which have a high likelihood of breaking during the warranty period.
  • Things where there is an enthusiast / hobby / fan culture associated with the products which you are totallyunfamiliar with.

Summary:

Now is the time to look at suppliers in China to source your products from for maximum profits. China has opened it’s doors to the world and is now a dominant manufacturing base for products. The internet and changing Chinese culture has made doing business a fact of life for many businesses, allowing people to buy from China and sell in their home markets.

In this Topic, we’ve covered:

  • Dropshipping: What it’s about, Pros and Cons, What to look for (and ask) when looking for potential suppliers, and Tips for Successful Dropshipping.
  • Choosing Profitable Products
  • Strategies for Success and their advantages/disadvantages
  • Niche Products and Markets
  • and finally…Good and Bad products

Power Sellers Center Article Archive

Newest Product Sources

Product Source: ABC Wholesale Products

eCommerce Advantage: PRODUCT SOURCING DIRECTORY: Dropshippers & Wholesalers

ABC Wholesale Products


We are made up of Salvage buyers, Salvage sellers, Salvage contract holders and Salvage Experts. We supply Brokers, Flea Market Vendors, Auctioneers, Wholesalers, Retailers, Exporters, Distributors, Non-Profit Organizations and Surplus Stores. We always have salvage merchandise, closeout merchandise and department stores returns by the pallet, lot or by the truckload, F.O.B. our Warehouse in Florida, available directly from the Department Stores Reclamation Centers to you!
CONTACT INFORMATION:
Address:
N/A

Email: online form

Contact Information:
800-247-4869

Product Source: A.C. Kerman

eCommerce Advantage: PRODUCT SOURCING DIRECTORY: Dropshippers & Wholesalers

A.C. Kerman


A.C. Kerman Inc. has been a leading supplier of sporting goods and outdoor products for almost two decades. We have the experience, knowledge and expertise to handle all of your needs. We view all of our customers as true business partners and are very proud of the long lasting relationships we have formed over the years.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Address:
1862 Dr. ML King Jr. Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL
33404

Email: sales@ackinc.com

Contact Information:
561.863.5191

Fax: 561.863.3277

Product Source: A New Life

eCommerce Advantage: PRODUCT SOURCING DIRECTORY: Dropshippers & Wholesalers

A New Life


Nutritional health supplements and health products, including antioxidants, liquid vitamins and minerals – formulated from organic natural ingredients and state-of-the-art discoveries in biochemistry…all GM free. Over the past 20 years, Neways has built a tradition of healthy product formulas. Today, Neways is recognized as the leader in healthy personal care, household, and health and wellness products. Neways was founded to provide products that minimize people’s exposure to potentially harmful ingredients while maximizing their health and beauty. Our mission is simple: to enhance the health and well-being of people around the world.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Address:
57 Rainsborowe Road
Essex, CO2 7JU
GB

Email: online form

Contact Information:
720 1608 79

Product Source: A Greener Kitchen

eCommerce Advantage: PRODUCT SOURCING DIRECTORY: Dropshippers & Wholesalers

A Greener Kitchen


Founded by Lacey Lybecker in 2009, A Greener Kitchen offers you sustainable style solutions for kitchen and dining with eco-friendly kitchen products and accessories, including organic cotton aprons and reusable produce bags. We are proud to be a Green America Approved Business and members of One Percent for the Planet. Our organic cotton products are cut and sewn in the USA by family-owned Tailoredwear, Inc. using fabric from Harmony Art, one of the USA’s few eco-friendly textile artisans. Harmony Art sources their organic cotton from Texas and India. For their fabrics made in India, the fiber is Fair Trade Certified, and the fabric is produced in a Fair Trade certified facility. Working together, A Greener Kitchen, Tailoredwear, and Harmony Art are bringing eco-chic into the kitchen.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Address:

11224 81st Avenue S
Seattle, WA
98178

Email: online form

Contact Information:
206.947.1294

Product Source: 9-Months Later

eCommerce Advantage: PRODUCT SOURCING DIRECTORY: Dropshippers & Wholesalers

9-Months Later


9-Months Later started out specializing in baby gift baskets, providing the service of creating very special baby gift packages filled with quality baby products for new arrivals and striving to provide the perfect gifts for Baby Showers and Welcome Home Treats. Through our quest to provide a convenient way for busy people to get the perfect baby gift package for family, friends, work colleagues and clients, we grew to cater to our customers requests and needs for baskets outside of the baby arena. Having established a base of Corporate Clients and a fine reputation for exceptional customer service, we searched high and low to find and create gift options for all other occasions. Each individual gift package is created with special care, time, thought and dedication with only the finest products and ingredients.

New baby gift baskets, diaper cakes, twin gifts, baby bootie bouquets, baby keepsakes

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Address:
512 E. Windmill Lane #314
Las Vegas, NV
89123

Email: SpoilBaby@9-MonthsLater.com

Contact Information:
702.318.5030

Fax: 702.318.5031