If you are interested in making money on eBay, you might be aware of the fact that some sellers find that competition on the eBay marketplace a little intense.
For many items such as electronic gadgets like mobile phones and mp3 players, it’s pretty much impossible for a new seller to make sales. This is because you are going head-to-head with long-term sellers with big budgets (they often make wholesale orders of over $20,000 -$30,000 at a time) which is difficult to compete with.
However, there are still a lot of unsaturated markets on eBay and therefore, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to cash-in. One of the best ways to ensure fast sales on eBay is importing from China, the global manufacturing giant.
When you import from China, you open yourself up to being able to source products that sell like hotcakes on eBay at a fraction of the cost of sourcing them locally. Products at 60% below retail prices? Yes please!
Importing from China isn’t as complicated as you might think. Here are six essential tips to help get you started.
Take precautions when importing from china
This is especially true when you order from suppliers on DHGate, China Vision, iOffer, etc. While these sites can have some exceptional bargains, they are also rife with dodgey suppliers who are offering products that are of such poor quality that you will have trouble selling them. In some cases, products bought from sellers on these sites never even show up. Your best protection is checking the suppliers feedback score (most wholesale marketplaces have feedback systems just like eBay) and contacting the supplier for a chat before you purchase anything.
Above all, remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Stay away from branded or designer items
While a lot of designer and branded items are manufactured in China, 90% of them coming out of China are fakes. There’s no such thing as an authentic Dolce and Gabana suit being sold at wholesale for $59! Avoiding fakes is crucial because if you get caught importing them into the US, you could be prosecuted. If you do manage to smuggle them through customs and list them on eBay, you will have your account closed down before you can say “but the supplier told me they were authentic”.
Determine whether your supplier is legitimate or a phoney
Unfortunately, when you import from China, you open yourself up to a myriad of ‘fake’ suppliers who are simply scammers hiding behind what appears to be a website full of bargains. These con-artists prey on retailers who are looking for a good deal. They often lure you in with extremely low prices on hot selling items such as iPads for $120 or Nike shoes for $14.Your best defence against falling victim is to run a quick check on the supplier. You can do this by testing the contact information they provide on their website. If they have a phone number listed, call it and ask them about their products. If they have a physical address, copy and paste it into Google Maps and see if the address really exists (note that not all streets in China will be indexed by Google). If they have no contact details listed, or just a Hotmail or Gmail email address, there is a real chance that you are dealing with a phoney supplier.
Always use safe payment methods when you import from China
Western Union, wire transfers and money orders are not recommended! If something goes wrong when you use these methods, there is very little hope in getting your money back. PayPal and other safe payment options such as ProPay or Escrow give you some level of cover should the transaction turn pear-shaped. If a supplier insists on using an unsafe payment method to avoid paying fees, don’t let them sway you, just find another supplier.
Order a sample first
If you find a supplier with the products you want to sell, order a sample before you dive in and order a wholesale lot. By ordering a sample, you can fully inspect the product’s quality and the supplier’s service. Expect to pay for the sample – very few suppliers will send them out for free. You should also be prepared to pay a retail price for the sample: Suppliers cannot offer wholesale rates on single items.
Hire a freight forwarder
There are a lot of logistics that go into importing items including paying customs fees and liaising with freight companies. If you are serious about importing, but a little overwhelmed by the details, consider hiring a freight forwarder to take care of the tricky parts. Good freight forwarders will be able to work with you on your first import and educate you enough so that you can do your second import yourself. The National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America is a trusted way to locate reliable forwarders.
Have you got questions about importing? Get in touch by leaving a comment below.