1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Ask Me Anything about selling on eBay

Discussion in 'Ebay' started by toml3030, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,251
    Likes Received:
    767
    For those who haven't chatted me me...

    Been selling on eBay/Amazon/Etsy/Bonanza/eCrater/own website since 1999
    Longest live stealth account from 2007
    Expected sales of $600,000 with 55% gross margin in 2015 across 20-30 stealth accounts plus 2 legit ones
    4 legit LLC's filing taxes
    Import from China, Philippines, Vietnam, Korea plus producing domestically
    Drop ship for others

    As you can see, I am pretty vertically integrated (have had a hand in every thing from production of goods to selling on my own account without outside help).

    My ecommerce philosophy is to always prepare for the long run, and to do it right from the beginning so that there are no problems down the road. Generally, you should not ask me to spoonfeed you answers like "If X happens, do Y", since policies and conditions change. You should learn how to think so that you can come up with answers on your own.

    [​IMG] 10 Commandments of Running Stealth eBay Accounts

    1. Thou shalt never give reason for humanoid eyes of eBay drones to scrutinize your account. The human mind wants to see patterns in a steam of data. Less human contact with eBay means less chance for eyeballs to link your accounts.

    2. Thou shalt use separate everything for each eBay account...and that means EVERYTHING (name, address, credit card, bank account).

    3. Thou shalt keep all your DSR's above 4.6 and defect rate below 5%, as those are the magic numbers where you go "below average" and subject yourself to MC999 selling restrictions. Also don't forget that the defect rate has to be below 5% in BOTH your domestic and global ratings.

    4. Thou shalt always keep in mind that even the lowest minion at eBay can escalate something which leads to your account closure. That means that even a snarky note on their customer survey may lead to a cascade of events that lead to your account closure.

    5. Thou shalt remember that 50% of buyers on eBay are idiots who won't read your listings. You must include as much information into the pictures and title as possible, since that's what half the people will make their buying decisions on.

    6. Thou shalt always contact customer to let them know if there are problems. NEVER let customer find out that their is a problem by package not being delivered on the day they're expecting it. Vast majority of people are understanding if you explain it to them before they are aware that there is even a problem.

    7. Thou shalt not cut corners. Building a successful long term eBay account requires patience of a saint. There are no real short cuts other than your product being as described, the price being right, quick shipment and customer service.

    8. Thou shall always promise less than what you can deliver. Never promise something to a customer and not come through.

    9. Thou shall not compete with chinese sellers who can make a living off 25 cent profit per sale.

    10. Thou shall shut up and read free information available on the internet and follow its teachings. Like anything on internet 99% of what is written is repetitive or useless, but the 1% makes up for it. ​
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 25
  2. The Curator

    The Curator Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    445
    What auto-monitoring software do you like for dropshipping off of other sites?
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  3. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,251
    Likes Received:
    767
    Not a big fan of dropshipping as a seller, because you can't trust most drop shippers, in my experience.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. The Curator

    The Curator Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    445
    Sorry I meant to say, what auto-monitoring software do you like? Does it monitor prices on Amazon and other providers (not drop shippers)?
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  5. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,251
    Likes Received:
    767
    I don't monitor others' prices although I will look in once in a while. It goes against the 9th Commandment "9. Thou shall not compete with chinese sellers who can make a living off 25 cent profit per sale." For three reasons... 1. A niche you pick should be profitable enough that what others charge should not concern you, 2. Price is not as big a factor in determining placement as you would think, and 3. The buyers who pick sellers over 1% price difference above everything else are the type of buyers you generally don't want in the long run.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  6. The Curator

    The Curator Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    445
    What's a good margin you find? A huge question on a dropshipping community has been about taxes, but I'm guess that won't be a topic of conversation on this thread lol..
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  7. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,251
    Likes Received:
    767
    The best margin are for stuff that I manufacture myself so if you want exact same thing you pay my prices, and for stupid little plastic and metal things that doesn't seem like much but can get up to 800% markup or more. IMHO, some of the drop shippers are playing with fire ignoring tax implications of what they're doing, because some states make you get a resale number which requires thousands of dollars in deposit or a sales tax bond, which I really doubt that they are bothering with. At least some of those people are going to be hit with a tax bill for unpaid taxes on products that they sold at 3% profit and owe 9% taxes on. They just don't think ahead.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  8. The Curator

    The Curator Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    445
    How would you go about remedying this if you drop ship then? Or is this a thread more about white labeling?
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  9. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,251
    Likes Received:
    767
    IMO, drop shipping may be a way to get into the game, but the real money is in inventorying, packing, and shipping yourself. Too much risk of something going catastrophically wrong when drop shipping. You can ship drop ship 1000 items a month and one really bad day by drop shipper can result in 30 cases being opened against you and your account getting shuttered. When selling online is your job, you want zero risk that this happens. Also, everyone who drop ship eventually wants to automate everything, which pretty soon will result in drop shippers competing against each other for smaller and smaller margins.

    YMMV, as I am well aware that some people do this successfully in large scale, but I'd bet that most of these large sellers are either those who have organizational talent on a higher plane than us mortals or are Chinese and thus can get away with pretty much anything.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 3
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  10. Euphorix

    Euphorix Supreme Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2015
    Messages:
    1,331
    Likes Received:
    802
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    Appreciate you running this Tom. I've got a couple :)

    1. I live in California (pricey). Where's your warehouse located/why did you choose that location?

    2. I currently have a number of LLC's operating out of Texas. Where do you set up your LLC's/why that location?

    3. How are you setting up your VPN's/virgin proxies: Are you using a service or is that something you're manually creating?

    This one is an Amazon question: I understand that Amazon ranks your listings via a combination of sales velocity, conversion rates, and feedback. How are you getting a high conversion rate on your items?
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  11. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,251
    Likes Received:
    767
    Orange county, CA. Choose any place that does not have business tax based on sales, like LA.

    Wyoming. Cheap and total anonymity possible, as the state of Wy does not even require filing of who the owners are.


    I am buying dedicated virgin IPs, but to save costs I'm only doing it when an account gets big enough that I have to supply Tax ID's to paypal. Until accounts get that big, I'm using tethered smart phones.


    1. So does ebay

    2. The ones with high conversion rates are the ones with that have the most competition, and remember that my strategy is to be king of small niches with high prices and low conversion rates. If you sell one item at $500 profit a year it's a lot less attractive to potential competitors than selling 100 items at $5 profit.

    3. On ones I DO try for high conversion rates to attract people to visit my listings, I spend some cash on getting high quality photos and keyword stuffing the title.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 6
  12. Sombrero

    Sombrero Supreme Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,213
    Likes Received:
    1,034
    Occupation:
    Driver
    Location:
    On The Road
    How you feedback looks like? Are you worried about negative feedback? I have created another account because some left me a bad review about a video game that cost $5 bucks with free shipping, he said that the disc didn't work but I played the game before selling it! I refunded the money and I told him to keep the game I send like 4 messages and he didn't change the feedback. Does really affects your sales? Thank you
     
  13. mediabuzz

    mediabuzz Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    53
    What are some advantages to selling on Ebay versus making your own website or shopify site and selling from there?
     
  14. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,251
    Likes Received:
    767
    I have never had an account closed because of feedcback.

    The only time you have to worry about feedback is about your first 20 or so spread out over a few months so that you get the holds lifted and start getting limit increases. After that unless you get many negs in a short time, the negs will get buried in rest of your sales.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  15. habashir11

    habashir11 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    8
    Where does a guy who wants to break into ebay selling and is starting from the very beginning w/ no inventory - where does that guy get started?
     
  16. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,251
    Likes Received:
    767
    Paying eBay 12% of your sales exposes your listing to millions of buyers. You can spend $4K setting up a super nice custom website and you will get like 10 visitors a day. I know, because I have done it. The biggest reason why your own website would fail is because it fails to attract traffic, and being on eBay solves that problem. I would recommend custom website before eBay only if you have a super niche product where buyers find you.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  17. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,251
    Likes Received:
    767
    To do it right you are going to have to invest a couple of bucks. As I said above, drop shipping might be a way to get in to start generating some sales.
     
  18. interpol2006

    interpol2006 Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nice thread tomtl, I have a question, I'm newbie and just got suspended on ebay a month ago. Can I use 1 credit card for multiple paypal account?
    Regards
     
  19. toml3030

    toml3030 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2014
    Messages:
    2,251
    Likes Received:
    767
    goes against the 2nd commandment

    2. Thou shalt use separate everything for each eBay account...and that means EVERYTHING (name, address, credit card, bank account).
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  20. password01

    password01 Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2015
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    52
    Occupation:
    Software Developer
    Location:
    London, UK
    Hi Tom, this is a great AMA - looking forward to it.

    With regards stealth. If you're not operating an LLC/Corporation then how can you get access to the funds in a timely manner to pay your dropshipper?

    I mean, I can buy stealth PayPal/eBay accounts with no limits etc, but what is the trick to getting your hands on the cash in a speedy manner? What are the concerns/caveats I should be aware of with bank accounts.

    Thanks.