Becoming an e-tailer again….with Ali Express

I have not retailed now for 2 years properly. I have sold stuff of course, it is in my nature but since my injury I have not been able to hand make the wigs that I used too. I DID think I would heal up and be back on track but unfortunately not. It isn’t happening!

I have the bug to sell and set up something new 🙂

Why sell myself when my work involved helping other people sell?

Am I not busy enough?

My entire experience came form starting up as a marketplace retailer in 1999 and then developing my own transactional website in 2000. Selling yourself and being in the thick of it makes you a better consultant.

I also have another itch to scratch with respects to my pharmaceutical chemistry degree.

I want to inject science back into my life!

My favourite way of doing this is cosmetic and beauty product development. I develop stuff for friends and now want to work with a lab in order to properly develop and market an indie brand.

Speaking to development labs and manufacturers in the UK, USA and China currently but to scratch the selling itch I have used ali express to start sourcing a few products to test the market. Ali express is great for testing ideas with a small investment.

As all good business should, I will start on eBay….

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I have been galavanting! Off to the Online Seller Meet Up London this week!

I have been out and about a lot recently and this week should be my last week of mayhem until Internet Retailing comes to Birmingham in March!

I have been very busy with exciting new projects which I will show off as soon as they are finished up.

These include:

– Many design projects for eBay and Web

– Linnworks integration

– Project management

– On site training

– Magento development

– Adwords/Marketing

– Day to day running of marketplace business

– SEO and Optimisation


I do have availability from March for some project based work, if you would like to see if I can help you!

However, coming up is the The February London Online Sellers Meetup and I am just planning my outfit.

These meet ups are superb for our industry. I treat them not just as a networking event but also an office party. I work on my own most of the time at home so I like to get out and about and meet people.

These events are also about networking, meeting people who you may or may not want to do business with in the future over free drinks and snacks.

A lot of people feel these events are all about selling services, but they are not. They are brimming with information, contacts and potential friendships within e-commerce.

Come along, say hello. I am the one in kimono.

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When NOT to use immediate payment on eBay…

I have seen the rise of immediate payment while shopping on eBay. Where is it good for stopping non-paying buyers it can also lose you the sale. Here is an example situation where immediate payment kills the sale.

I have a new obsession…HOME GEL NAILS. I now cut my own hair and do my own nails. I bought a kit from Sensationail who sell in Boots however on their OWN site the starter kit was £20 cheaper AND on their facebook page they had a discount code.

VERY happy…

However, eBay is a great feeder of obsessions so I wanted to find other brands and colours that worked with my LED lamp. I find a brand that my sister has her nails done with professionally and it is only £3.50 with free shipping! WOW!

Feedback – check

Description/Item fit for purpose – check (even though on the cheapest listing you had to do a bit more research on the colours that I would have liked using the eBay app)

Select colour and buy….IMMEDIATE PAYMENT? But I want 3 colours? You are going to make me go through the checkout on my mobile 3 times, you will send 3 packages (what a waste of packing materials) and potentially the postman has to visit or leave a card 3 times.

Uggh…next seller….

Hmm…£3.90…O.K, not bad…IMMEDIATE PAYMENT….

Next seller…£4.20….finally NOT immediate payment (quickly buys three colours which are much better depicted so I can be sure of the colour/name accuracy) then remembers you can’t combine on the mobile app (bad eBay) so checked out this morning at ‘work’ and added 3 more colours….

Consider your buyers, are you about to put an item on immediate payment that you want people to make multiple purchases from?



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Have shoppers dodged the tax dodgers?

The channeladvisor blog released some figures comparing 2011 and 2012 with respects to Mega Monday (first Monday in December) showing eBay preforming better than Amazon.

Amazon: +14.3%
eBay: +21.9%

*based on Channeladvisors UK customer base.

Money is still super tight in the UK with confidence in ANYTHING seemingly dire, but these results show growth for UK business on marketplaces.

However, Amazon has been all over the news together with Starbucks and Google as evil tax dodgers robbing the UK economy of money, even though eBay does the SAME by being based in Luxembourg. You know when you buy off eBay you buy off a SELLER, who pays their tax (we assume). eBay doesn’t sell anything.

Amazon does… and it is sometimes confusing about who you are buying off when you shop on Amazon. This can be a good thing, but it can also hinder when the company itself it at the middle of a scandal.

Lets not forget the 15,000 people Amazon employs in the UK who pay ALL their tax. It is just corporation tax they are NOT paying a lot of.

The damage hasn’t been that great for Amazon, sales still grew 37% over November as a whole for UK sellers and a lot of my clients sell the same on eBay and Amazon at this time of year.

But these figure do suggest marketplace trade is GROWING first and foremost, and if you are not on eBay/Amazon you are missing out, or simply don’t exist for most shoppers.

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Research and Define an eBay Strategy – Coffee Machines Example

Research is essential to finding your eBay Strategy. I use Terapeak for product research but you need clear and simple steps:

Strategy Report for a Company Selling Coffee Machines

eBay Keyword Suggestions:


Coffee Machine
Drinks Machine
Coffee Maker
Drinks Station
Coffee Station

Current Advertising Campaign: No press release since Nov 2006 – USA

Terapeak Results:

Coffee Machine:

Top Days: Sunday, Monday and Thursday
Best Duration: 7 days
Format: Auctions 1875 sold in 90 days, Fixed Price: 470, Store: 66
Times of Day between 10am and 10 pm peaking between 7 and 10pm
Best Categories: Home and Garden, Business and Office
Essential Features: Gallery

Drinks Machine:

Top Days: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday
Best Duration: 7 days
Best Format: Auctions 244, Fixed Price: 37, Store: 7
Times of day 9am and 11pm peaking between 7pm and 9pm
Category: Business and Office
Essential Features: Gallery

Junes Statistics:

GMS: £349.27
eBay Fee: £95.95
Close Rate: 7%

Price Comparison:

Coffee Machines – Best Price and Availability for Brand £79.99 – £222

First I always use the power of Google. Googles external keyword tool will give you a set of keywords and you can check the search volume. I always trust in the fact we are creatures of habit and only really search in one way, so product trends on Google will be close to that of eBay. Unless anyone out there searches really differently on eBay and Google. I certainly don’t!

Once you have some basic keyword with a higher search volume, you can pop these into Terapeak. Now, Terapeak wil give you a nice summary, but make sure you expand the selections as sometimes the ‘average’ lies somewhat and you need to take a human view of the data.

Take a look at your pricing in relation to what has sold. Try to pick our items that are doing well, for examples Bathroom Stuff. Taps are ten a penny and the prices are low. Buy glass scales, bathroom mirrors and vanity basins are fetching decent prices and selling well. So if you were a bathroom retailer you would place your glass scales, mirrors and vanity basins on the core marketplace (auction and fixed price) and your other items in your eBay shop as cheap listings. It is very easy to loose money in fee’s on eBay if you don’t keep a tight watch on your marketplace.

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