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Hi, my name is Matt Bernstein, successful Udemy instructor with over 45,000+ students across 186 countries. But, I'm going to make the proper assumption that you have no idea who I am.
So listen, I have a booming voice and like to get straight to the point.
From an eBay selling standpoint, during college, I was profiting $24,000 a year selling on eBay, drop shipping baseball cards..
Now, you’re thinking, “that’s great for you, how am I going to succeed?”
At the end of the course you'll learn how to…
Who should take this course? Who should not?
As a very small token of my appreciation:
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|Section 1: Before You Contact Dropshippers|
Do I have to buy more than one product?
With dropshipping, you are not buying the products upfront. So it doesn't matter the number of products that you list for sale. With the light bulk suppliers in our database, they have minimum orders of $500 or less, so you can keep your own inventory for better profit margins.
Do I have to pay for the product before I sell it?
With dropshipping no. The supplier will be sending the product on your behalf to the end customer. You will pay for the product once a customer orders from you.
Do I have to pay the supplier a membership fee too?
We do not list wholesale suppliers with membership or account setup fees.
What is a drop ship fee?
A drop ship fee is also called a “handling” fee. This is the fee to pay the wholesale supplier to split apart cases and pack one product to send to your customer.
How much is the drop ship fee?
If there is a drop ship fee, they typically range from $1.00 to $5.00. Sometimes you will see a higher drop ship fee, which is understandable once you see the type of product that will be sent. Delicate products take more to pack and ship them, so the extra cost has to be charged in the drop ship fee.
What kind of profit margins are there with dropshipping?
This all depends on the products that you source and the supplier that you work with. All wholesale suppliers have their own wholesale pricing structures, so you will have to contact the wholesale supplier that you want to work with to get those wholesale prices to see what type of profit you can make.
Sports Pulse, LLC would profit up to 20% or as low as 5%. The average being 10%.
What are middlemen?
A middleman is a company that was created to simply pass on orders. A middleman will not hold inventory and will send your order to the actual manufacturer or wholesale supplier to send the product. They charge extra fees to do this, and that is typically found in the increased "wholesale" cost.
How do I get images and descriptions of the dropshipped products for my website?
The wholesale suppliers that dropship, will provide you with all the images & product descriptions that you will need to sell the product once you have setup an account with the wholesale supplier.
Can you use a drop ship supplier and sell on eBay?
You can use dropshipping to sell on eBay. eBay is a good place to test the product market to get more instant results. It is difficult to compete on eBay, so it’s best to purchase in light bulk quantities to sell on the eBay platform. You will get even better pricing by purchasing wholesale products in this manner, and you will have the control over your shipping so there will not be an issue with feedback.
How do I know the product will still be in stock by the time I sell it?
Many wholesale suppliers have real time inventory. That means that at any given moment, you can go to the wholesale suppliers website, and they will tell you the number of items left.
Why does Dropshipping cost more?
Dropshipping wholesale prices are higher, because you are buying one product at a time. Bulk discounts occur when you can purchase the required minimum from a wholesale supplier. The more you buy, the higher the discount. This is how large chain stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and etc are able to keep prices so low. They are buying in HUGE quantities to stock their stores Worldwide.
Why don't all suppliers offer Dropshipping?
Dropshipping takes extra time and manpower. Many wholesale suppliers are not willing to do business this way and it will increase their overhead.
Do I need a Tax ID to work with a dropshipper?
Yes of course! Legitimate wholesale suppliers will require a business tax ID in order to sell wholesale to you. This makes the products non-taxable to you, but you can tax your customers.
Do I need a Tax ID to work with dropshippers if I'm outside the US?
60%-70% of wholesale suppliers will work with international retailers. If you are interested in a specific country, and only want to work with wholesale suppliers in that country, you are welcome to do so. Keep in mind, that since International rules differ from the US, there is no tax ID involved like you would need for the USA. So you will typically not need a tax ID in order to work with US wholesale suppliers. However, you will still need to obtain a registered business name and any other documentation required to prove you are a legitimate retailer. So you will need to check with your country or region to see what you need to show you are a genuine retailer. Quick tip! In a search engine, type Starting a business in XXXX and replace the X’s with your country name. There are a lot of great free resources out there that will provide you with what you need to know.
Do I need a Tax ID to work with dropshippers if I am only planning to sell on eBay?
Yes of course! The same rule applies as above. Legitimate wholesale suppliers will require a business tax ID in order to sell wholesale to you. This makes the products non-taxable to you, but you can tax your customers.
Can I use my website as my registered business name?
Your website or online store is your store name. Business names can differ from your store name. But the important thing is to register with your state.
I have an EIN. Is this the Tax ID the suppliers want in order to work with them?
An EIN is a federal ID number. This allows you to have employees and submit taxes on those employees. Many wholesale suppliers will accept an EIN, but you also need to get a Tax ID number from your state to charge sales tax to any customer that is also located in your state.
Will the dropship supplier use my company information on the shipment to my customer?
Many of the listed wholesale suppliers will send the product in your name, or they will blind drop ship, so the customer doesn’t know exactly where it came from.
If I give my customer's information to the dropshipper, couldn't they steal my customer from me and cut me out of the sale for any future purchases?
A wholesale supplier's business is selling to retailers, not the end consumer. Some wholesale suppliers have contracts you can sign that will state they will not market to your customers.
How are returns handled? Do my customers ship the products to me or the supplier?
This will vary from wholesale supplier to supplier. Each has their own rules on returns. You will have to adhere to the wholesale suppliers policies.
What is Blind Dropshipping?
Blind dropshipping is when the wholesale supplier will use a return label that reads something like "Fulfillment Center" or "Shipper" as the business name.
How do I figure out how much to charge for shipping when using multiple dropshippers?
This can be complicated, since a customer could potentially order 2 different items from 2 different suppliers. You wouldn't want to charge your customer too much for shipping, so you can do a few things; 1. You can make sure that your suppliers use one service like UPS to ship. Then you can use the UPS calculator to get shipping costs for the 2 products from one location. Or 2. You can calculate shipping charges on each product and charge a flat fee for shipping. You will lose money on some shipping charges, but you will gain on others.
What are the benefits of using a Dropshipper for my business?
No overhead is the first benefit. You are not storing and stocking the inventory, so there are no extra costs involved there. There are no extra costs for you to take the time to pack and ship the product. Dropshipping is also great for testing the product.
Can I use several Dropshippers?
Yes you can, but it makes shipping more complicated.
Are the products from the drop ship suppliers junk and cheaply made?
These are all brand new, straight from the factory products. Some are products that can be placed in a dollar type store, but other products are more for boutique high end stores.
Do you have a hot list of products so we can start selling right away?
Hot lists are not to be trusted. If you are looking at a hot list, then thousands if not millions of other sellers are looking at that hot list too. That increases the competition on those products, and you can easily be driven out of that product marketplace.
Tax I.D. to Work with Dropshippers (U.S. only)
Applicable to the United States, an Employer Identification Number or EIN is the corporate equivalent to a Social Security Number, although it is issued to anyone, including individuals. The purpose of an EIN is so that the IRS will be able to identify your business for taxes.
You need an EIN to work with wholesalers. Without it, you will not have access to legitimate wholesalers. With an EIN you won't have to pay sales tax on products you buy for your business, including items for resell.
How to Setup a Business License (U.S. only)
The reason to consider getting a business license is because you separate yourself from your business. Your business becomes a person and will be considered one. At the start, I chose to become a sole proprietorship. You alone own the company and are responsible for it's assets and liabilities.
Once you're making money and the business becomes profitable, I became a limited liability company. LLC's are not taxed as a separate business entity. Instead all the profits and losses are passed through the business to each member of the LLC. Members report profits and losses on their personal federal tax returns.
Advantages of an LLC, members are protected from personal liability for business decisions or actions. If the LLC incurs debt, the issued members personal assets are usually exempt. Keep in mind that limited liability means limited liability. Members are not necessarily shielded from wrongful acts, including those against employees. Finally, there's less registration paperwork and there are low start-up costs.
Disadvantage of an LLC is self-employment taxes. Members of an LLC are considered self-employed and must pay the self-employment tax contributions towards Medicare and Social Security. Their entire net income of the LLC is subject to taxes.
To get an LLC, you must file the Articles of Organization, which is a simple document that legitimizes your LLC. It includes information, like your business name, address, and the names of its members. In most states, you file with the Secretary of State. There will be an associated filing fee for this document. You can register with the state you live in. Go to your state government website. You can file with your state online.
How to Setup a Business Bank Account
Once you have an LLC, your money should be separated into a business bank account, and kept away from your personal bank account. You're letting the IRS know that your business is a separate entity and that you're serious about making a profit. If you're being sued and you don't have a separate bank account for your business, then you're not showing that your business is a separate entity!
Bank of America allows you to spend $10,000 per day with your debit card and you don't need to maintain a minimum balance. Bank of America charges $16/month for having a business bank account. They give you some options to get that $16/month back, by spending at least $250 with your debit card per month or business credit card. Otherwise, it's $16/month.
Bank of America has very good customer service, with very nice people. You have an easy access to ATM's and Branches everywhere in the United States. You can deposit cash and checks at any ATM.
I went to Bank of America to open a business bank account and brought all these business documents. Articles of Organization, Tax ID number, Driver's License, Birth Certificate, and Social Security number.
You should be capable of waiving the $16/month fee by spending $250/month with your debit card when you charge your eBay fees, cell phone bill, and other business expenses. If you want to be successful, continue to keep your costs low. On average, when people expend purchases with their debit card, they spend an average of 13%-18% more than cash.
The first time I opened a business checking account, it was with a local credit union. I had a personal checking and savings account with them and they weren't that bad.
It was March 26, 2012 and the biggest product of the year was being released. Wholesalers were gonna charge my bank account in the afternoon and ship my customers orders afterwards. All the money was in the account, over $7,000. But, it's not that easy. The credit union called and they told me that two wholesalers tried charging my account for around $7,000 and labeled it as suspicious activity. The bank said there was a $3,000 spending limit per day. Even if I had a $100,000 in my bank account.
People usually aren't best friends with their banks. Does anyone have a good experience with their bank? Leave a comment below and tell me about it!
How to Start a Business Internationally
20% of students on Udemy are from from India. So, Google “starting a business in India” and you'll see that your government offers plenty of information. Use it in order to sign up and register a business. To work with wholesalers, all you need to do is prove you have a legitimate business.
Once you set up a business in India, you are legitimizing your business and you are able to do business anywhere in the world. If you want to do business in the US, call the manufacturer who produces the item you want to sell. Introduce yourself, the name of your company, and where your business is located. They'll give you a list of wholesalers you can work with in India or wherever you're located.
I'm not a lawyer or an accountant and I can not give you legal advice. When you "Google" this information, you'll be connected to your government website. Make sure it's a legitimate government website because you don't need to pay anyone to file the paperwork to become a legitimate business. The government will show you a step by step process, for free and will give you in-depth information in order to legitimize your business.
This will enable you to get products at wholesale prices and work with legitimate wholesalers in the US and internationally to start dropshipping products to your customers, anywhere in the world.
Help Improve This CoursePreview
|Section 2: Product Sourcing Baseball Card Cases at Wholesale Prices|
Product Sourcing Baseball Card Cases at Wholesale Prices [HD]
Selling Baseball Cards in Bulk to Maximize Profits
Maintain Product Inventory Prices
Presale Research to Maximize Profit Potential
|Section 3: How to Sell on eBay|
How to Signup for an eBay Seller Account
eBay gives you an easy access to a worldwide customer base - who is looking to buy the products you're selling. Getting started with eBay is virtually risk free for you. You don't need any startup capital and you don't need to take out a loan. You benefit from massive amounts of internet traffic. There are safety measures that protect buyers and sellers from fraud. Your income potential is virtually unlimited and is only limited by…your ability to find items to resell. Your knowledge of creative selling techniques and your time.
You can list a product immediately and make a sale on eBay within 6 hours of listing that item. If you're new to selling and marketing then eBay is a great solution. eBay does all the marketing for you. The best part is, eBay only gets paid when you make a salet! eBay is a great way to test which items sell and which ones don't sell.
Go on your desktop, laptop, or tablet. Make sure you log into one of those options before continuing. Go to ebay.com and click register on the top left corner of your screen, where it says “sign in or register” This will prompt you to the “Get Started with eBay” page and you can proceed to type in your “first name, last name, email address, and password” By clicking submit you agree to eBay terms and conditions.
eBay will send you a welcome message and now you've created an eBay account. You're not done just yet. You still need to learn how to create an eBay selling account. Go to the top left hand corner of your screen and click on your name. A tab will appear and click on “account settings” This is where you can access your account information at anytime.
Next you need to click on the sell tab that is located on the top left corner of your screen. eBay will prompt you to a page where you need to “update your information” You need to type in your “country, street address, zip code, city, state, and phone number” and click continue so eBay can update your information.
Next you want to access your eBay “selling manager” this is where you can keep track of sold, unsold, and active inventory listings you have listed on eBay.
Go to your messages and click on the “eBay welcome message” and click on “account preferences”. You'll be prompt to your account information and click on edit to the right of your “user id” eBay will require you to confirm your password before you can make any change to your ID.
The final step to creating your eBay selling account is to click my account and then on eBay store subscriptions. You do not need an eBay store in order to create a selling account. You'll notice that eBay says “you do not have an active sellers account” click on that link and then confirm your personal information. eBay will call you immediately to confirm your identity. This will prevent fraud. Next type in your credit card information because this is how you pay your eBay commission fees every month after you sell an item.
How to Signup for a PayPal Account
You'll quickly come to know that eBay and PayPal work hand and hand. Especially when you're first starting out. PayPal is owned by eBay and eBay requires you to use PayPal to accept payments when you're first start to sell. Because of this you're forced to create a PayPal account to sell on eBay. So lets get you started!
Go to ebay.com and go to my “account settings” Scroll all the way down to “my PayPal” and click “link my PayPal account” This will take you to the PayPal website and you can click “I don't have a PayPal account” Type in the same email address that is associated with your eBay account and create and confirm your password. You need to review your account information and then click continue.
Now that you've created your PayPal account you need to finish linking your eBay and PayPal accounts in order to sell on eBay. Go back to eBay “account setting” and click “link my PayPal account” and now type in your PayPal email and password that you created and click “link my account”
Now that your eBay and PayPal accounts are linked. Go to PayPal.com and login. PayPal will prompted a screen that requires you to create two security questions to protect your account. Any time you're dealing with a financial account you want it to be secure as possible.
You're going to need to link your credit card, bank account, and social security number with your PayPal account. This is to prevent fraud and confirm your true identity.
You're going to have to rely on your abilities to adapt and learn new things. Throughout this book you're going to be introduced to websites and tools you're not familiar with. Most websites have knowledge bases and videos that will teach you to how to use their websites properly. Your ability to learn these new skills will determine your success.
Once you sign up for a PayPal account and make your first sale, you'll notice that eBay holds the sale transaction money into your PayPal account for up to 21 days. This is to prevent fraudulent transactions. eBay has standards that you need to live up to in order for you to sell on eBay long term. You need to be patient because eventually they will not have that 21 day limit placed on you. This is only for new sellers to prevent fraud. When you upload your tracking number for each order, PayPal will release the funds 2-3 business days after your customers order has been received.
To start, PayPal charges 2.9% merchant service fee on every transaction. Once you start selling more, that will be automatically be lowered to 2.5% or 2.2% depending on your volume of sales. You will get to that point eventually, you just have to be patient throughout the process. This is easy to accomplish, you just need time. Like Frank Sinatra said if you can do it here, you can do it anywhere. Meaning if I can do it, you can do it.
eBay Presale Product Listing Research
How to conduct presale research on eBay. As you start to evaluate product listings, be sure you determine the total number of results, the number and percentage of listings that sold. The price of products that sold in last 90 days. We did the same thing in the lecture searching eBay completed listing. Do this for each product you want to sell.
Create the title, describe the item clearly and include the keyword phrases that best describe the product. Ask yourself, “what would I type in if I was looking for this item?” Use as many characters allowed in the title as possible and use descriptive terms. What's the product name, color, type, gender, brand, size, style, sku, and condition.
The product description should be thorough and clearly describe the product and its condition. Be sure it points out specific or unique features benefits and specifications. Use consistent business-like fonts and colors. Use black coloring, arial font, size 12, and bold the headings. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and to the point. Buyers want to get the facts of your product quickly. They don't want to read a lot of text. So keep your paragraphs at four sentences or less. Use bullet points to make the listing skimmable and give emphasis to benefits features and specifications. Carefully check the grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Get help, if necessary, to get it right. Include return shipping and payment policies in your descriptions.
Save your policies as a document to easily copy and paste for every eBay listing. As for product descriptions, I just copied the manufacturer descriptions and was on the first page on Google. eBay does the best job to market your products to really earn their commission.
Upload stock photos that very clearly highlight all the features of the item. You can list up to 12 pictures. List as many pictures as possible that will add value to customers experience. The pictures need to be large with at least one side with 500 pixels.
Price, you want to match the best price on eBay or within $10 of the best price because people always want to buy the lowest price possible. There's no way around this. No matter how good your customer services is. No matter how good your shipping and return policies are. The customer will always go with the seller with the lowest price with the best feedback. The best shipping, return policies, and customer service will supplement the best price.
Product quantity, you're limited to listing 50 items on eBay to start so keep each listing quantity to one per listing. Shipping policy, because you're listing products that sell for $250, you can offer them free shipping. In my experience, the dropshipper will give you free shipping anyway so it's a no brainer. You don't have to pay for shipping and neither should your customers.
Return policy, offer a better return policy than your competition. In retail your customer always knows what they're buying You should have a return policy because your customer likes knowing in the back of their minds that the option to return their order is available. In all my years doing business I've had one customer return their order. The sale was for $600 and I paid only $45 for return shipping. Considering my sales were over $525,000 in the last two years, having a return policy was absolutely worth it. Accept the 60 day return policy on eBay and check off that the seller will pay for return shipping. This gives the customer virtually no risk purchasing from you.
Create the Title
Describe your item clearly and include the keyword phrases that best describe it. Avoid keywords that have nothing to do with the product you're selling. Ask yourself, “What would I type if I was looking for this item?”
Use as many of the characters allowed in the title as you can and use descriptive terms to consider the following:
Color (if applicable)
Gender (if applicable)
Size (if applicable)
Style (if applicable)
SKU (if applicable)
Your description should be thorough and clearly describe the product and its condition. Be sure it points out specific or unique features, benefits, and specifications.
Use consistent business‐like font sizes and colors. You should use:
Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and to the point. Buyers want to get the facts of your product quickly. They don't want to read a lot of text. Use bullet points to make them skimmable and to give emphasis to benefits, features, specifications.
Give it a professional appearance. Carefully check the grammar, punctuation, and spelling and get help, if necessary, to get it right. Include return, shipping, and payment policies in the description.
It is very easy to just copy and paste the manufacturer description. On eBay, that's exactly what I did and my listings were found on the top of the first page on Google. eBay does the best job to market your products on all aspects and really earn their commission. My business wouldn't be where it is today without eBay, so thank you very much eBay.Pictures
Very clear pictures that highlight all of the features of the item. You can list up to 12 pictures. List as many pictures as possible that will add value to your customers experience. You want them to be sized large (at least 1 side with 500px is required by eBay).Price
You want to match the best price on eBay (or within $10 of the best price) because people always want to buy the lowest priced listing possible.Quantity
You're limited to listing 10 items on eBay to start so keep each listing QTY to 1 per listing.Shipping Policy
You're going to be listing products that sell for at least $250 you can offer them free shipping. In my experience, the dropshippers will give you free shipping anyways so it's a no brainer. You don't pay for shipping and neither do your customers. If your drop shipper doesn't ship for free, find another drop shipper that will.Return Policy
Offer a better return policy than your competition. In retail, your customer always know what they are buying. You should have a return policy because your customer likes knowing in the back of their minds that the option to return their order is available. In all my years of doing business, I've had 1 customer return their order. The sale was $600 and I paid $45 for shipping. Considering my sales were $525,000 in the last two years, having a return policy was absolutely worth it. You want to accept a 60 day return policy on eBay and say that you will pay for return shipping. This gives the customer virtually no risk purchasing from you. You want to be better than your competitors and give your customers the best value so they will purchase with you and not someone else. Again, you have nothing to be afraid of because since 2006, I've had 1 return. I swear to you, only 1 return. So you have nothing to worry about. It's the cost of doing business.What People Want on eBay
Potential customers want to make a purchase from you if you have the best price. No matter how nice you are, no matter how accommodating you are to them, no matter what your shipping and return policies are nothing makes up for having the lowest price. This is just the retail world we live in today. So you want to match the best price.Focus on What Won't Change
The core of your business should be built around things that won't change. Invest in business concepts that people are going to want today and thirty years from now. Amazon focuses on fast & free shipping, great selection, friendly return policies, and affordable prices. These things will always be in high demand. When you focus on permanent features, you're maximizing your long term probability for success.Quantify Your Business
Focus on items that you can sell more than 12 of
What 20% of products make up 80% of your sales?What 20% of customers make up 80% of your sales?
How to Increase eBay Selling Limits
After you've created an eBay selling account, you're limited to listing 50 items or selling $5,000 per month. Selling limits serve the purpose of preventing fraud. eBay does a background check on every seller to make sure their legitimate.
It's easy to increase your selling limits. You're going to have to be patient. You'll need to sell some products and max out your selling limits during your first month and receive 5 star feedback from those transactions.
After one month you'll be able to call eBay and explain to them your business plan and they will increase your selling limits each month by about 80%. eBay will want to know where you're getting your products, how many products you want to list, and what the average sale price is.
eBay will also hold your funds into PayPal for up to 21 days after you sell the item. Which limits your cash flow.
eBay wants you to call every month and speak with their experts to talk more about your business and more about you. They'll want to know where you get your products. What other platforms you're using. They will mostly go by your past selling performances. eBay will increase your limits based off your selling habits and tailor the limitations to your business needs. They will increase your limits every 30 days immediately after a phone call with a representative.
eBay Selling Potential
Since I'd have about 530 positive feedback and 100% positive feedback, asking for increases every 30 days was easy and I was getting a 75% increase in both categories. After about 1 year or 12 calls to talk to eBay about increasing my selling limits. eBay raised my limits to 2,500 items per month and could list $1,300,000 worth of items.
Simple Bookkeeping to Keep Track of Profits
When your first sale comes in, you need to keep track of your revenue and all your cost of doing business. The IRS is going to want to know during tax season and you're gonna wanna know how much money you're making also. You need something to measure your goals against. You need to keep track of your cost of doing business so you know what expenses need to be cut.
You'll learn how to use Microsoft Excel to keep track of the books for your online business. At this point, you should not have any upfront expenses. The only expenses you will encounter is after you make a sale. In that case, you only need to keep track of sale transactions.
Create a Microsoft Excel file and title it with your business name and year.Create Column headings for each of these fields.
Mark down the date of the transaction in the next row down from the appropriate “date” column heading.
You can copy and paste the buyers shipping address and email address to be able to easily contact them in the future.
Mark down the contents of your customers order. You can also copy and paste right from the sales invoice.
Mark down how many items of each product your customer bought.
What was the sale price? How much did your customer pay for their order?
Cost of Goods
How much did you have to pay for your customers order?
How much did it cost you to ship your customers order?
How much of a commission did eBay charge you for your sale? It's usually 9% per sale.
How much did your merchant account, payment gateway, or PayPal charge you for the transaction?
How much money did you make from your customers order?
Gross revenue - cost of goods/expenses. It's simple math.
Upload the tracking# from your customers order into your excel spreadsheet to keep track of shipping history.
PayPal Invoice to Create Repeat Customers
Once you've made a sell with a customer, there is no reason that same customer should ever buy from you on eBay again. You want to invoice the repeat customer from PayPal and avoid the eBay fees. You know your customer now and you know how to contact them. You know what products they're interested in. You will use this information to make sales with them in the future. You no longer need eBay. eBay has done their job and has found you a customer who loves your business.
How to Avoid Getting Banned From eBay
When I first started selling on eBay, I believed that the more products that were listed in my eBay store the more profits I could make and the better my business could be. I was listing and selling products that were getting drop shipped from distributors and I had problems updating my inventory on eBay.
Meaning, if you're listing 2,500 items in your eBay store any 1 item could become sold out with your distributor or they could raise the price of the item.
Lets say your distributor sold out of one of those items and you sell that item on eBay, what are you gonna do? You can either find another distributor and hope they have that same product or buy it at retail.
The worst case happened to me 7 times in the last 12 months and it's the only reason why I got banned from eBay. I wasn't able to find the product anywhere for any price because there is none left. So you have no choice but to beg your customer and eBay for your forgiveness and hope they won't leave you negative feedback. 7 customers left me negative feedback because the distributor sold the item I had listed on eBay.
Keeping track of 2,500 items for 24/7/365 in real time is impossible for any one human being to accomplish. The customer didn't understand or seem to believe that I ran out of product and only believed that I was holding out on the product to make even more of a profit because the product in question raised in value since the customer bought it. It was also the main reason why everyone is sold out on it now and I wasn't able to fulfill their order at this time.
What you want to do to avoid this is list items from the wholesalers inventory that has at least a quantity of 12 in stock and ready to ship because a lot of the products I was selling the wholesaler only had 1 item available of that product. You also want to never stop product sourcing. You want a good standing relationship with every wholesaler and manufacturer you can possibly find. It will even get to the point where you'll work with other retail stores to get a good price.
|Section 4: Best Marketing Practice on eBay is Customer Loyalty|
Overview of Brand Values to Gain Customer Loyalty
Today, we're going to talk about customer service. These are the things that you want your customers to perceive about you and your business. People want to trust other people instead of corporations. You want to have core values and have your business stand for something special. Sports Pulse was about connecting customers with card shops around the U.S. and Canada. Help support them and keep the stores open.
Don't have a problem saying no to a customer. You should know what you will never do and tell your customers that. You have integrity and stand for what you believe in.
You also want to be authentic and have that authenticity reflected in your business. Emulate businesses you love and buy from. What do they do great? What do they do differently? Analyze their business and emulate those same authentic qualities into your own. Don't be afraid to be yourself and act your size. You're not a corporation, you're either one person or a small group of people. That's okay and embrace who you are.
You can't always surprise your customers, but the unexpected gets remembered. Give a little extra value away as an extra bonus gift that they might not be expecting. Try and surprise your customers every single time. Go the extra mile to put in the work and win their loyalty. That's how businesses win in the long run.
You want to be consistent. Imagine if the same dish at your favorite restaurant tasted different half the time you went. You'd never know what to expect, the good or the mediocre. So, you'd be less likely to eat there. If you say you ship products within 48 hours, be consistent and do so. If you don't send an email right away and apologize. Be personal with your customers and go that extra mile in getting to know them too. They'll be more lenient when you make a mistake.
Develop Customer Relationships to Increase Sales
What kind of relationship do you have with your customers?
You have an easier time giving your friend $20, rather than a complete stranger.
People want to trust other people and not corporations.
What have you done to build a relationship and trust, so that the customer spends money with you?
Do you offer free shipping?
Do you have a simple and easy to use return policy?
Do you offer free return shipping?
When a customer wants a return, do you follow through on all your promises and show them what you truly stand for?
Offering these incentives to your customers makes the purchase a no brainer. When you give a customer no potential risk, they are more likely to buy from you, and they will more likely buy from you in the future.
Two weeks after you make a sale, do you follow up with all your customers, asking them about their experience? You want them to make their voice heard, your customers are important to you. So make them feel important. Ask them if they're enjoying their order, and build a relationship with all your customers.
Repeat customers are the best thing for any business.
What can you do online to build a relationship with a customer?
Customer Satisfaction to Guarantee Repeat Customers
People will look to justify their purchase to their friends and family. So you want to justify the sale with social proof. Include customer feedback in your followup emails and emphasize your low return rate.
Surprise customers with a little bonus because it more likely confirms to them, that the product they ordered was worth it.
Offer free product training and support. When people spend money on something they tend to doubt themselves and their ability to make the product work right.
Just because you made the sale, it doesn't mean the work is over. Your job is to turn one-time buyers into loyal customers.
Customer Loyalty Hauls Big Profits
Customers buy sports cards to complete sets.
What if you gave them an artificial head start?
Give them a bonus gift and give them a head start to complete a card set.
When customers buy a product for the first time on other baseball card sites, they are 0% completed with their set. How about giving them extra value, and automatically give away 5% of the set they want?
Give them a head start before opening their purchase. Instead of 0% completed, they are 5% completed. Customer loyalty would increase which will yield big profits for you in the long haul.
|Section 5: How to Create an eCommerce Store with BigCommerce|
eCommerce Store that Converts Customers into Sales
Right now, eBay has control of your destiny. You're working for THEM by THEIR rules. You don't want that. You want to be in control of your destiny because eBay isn't looking out for your best interest. Only you're responsible for looking out for your best interest.
Create your own website so YOU create the rules. Know your edge. Create a home base where customers will ultimately go to make purchases.
So why is this important?
Converting Best Offer Sales on eBay
You'll be able to convert best offer sales on eBay. Eventually, eBay will censor you from ever sending or receiving an email address through the eBay messaging system.
To be able to continue converting Best Offers on eBay to sales off of eBay, you need to create a website.
You'll be able to send your customer a direct product link to your eCommerce store.
eBay will never censor URL's and this is the most efficient way to continue making sales from eBay best offers.
Independent of eBay
You'll be independent of eBay. Right now eBay controls your company and your destiny.
With a website you'll be able to control your own destiny and increase your probability of success. You'll be able to list your product inventory at cheaper prices because you're avoiding eBay fees.
Your website can be designed anyway you want it to be. You can create a business model as unconventional as you want.
What Makes a Good Website Domain Name
Your websites domain name should be your business name and it should describe what you're selling online.
A good logos is simple, there is 1 theme going on. It's easy to read, the color and shapes are easy on the eyes.
Your website should have easy navigation. It should have a drop down menu of the products you're selling. Your customer should be able to find any specific item they're looking for immediately.
Write Good Copy
You should have a great written description of the fields below. It should be short and sweet. If you can't get through reading your own policies, then you need to make it fun and exciting to read. There is a reason why no one reads company policies because they're all sooo boring. Make yours short, sweet, fun and exciting to read. Act like you're talking to your friend and make it like a conversation. Maybe you'll stand out.
Your website should have an “About Us” page on the top of the website. You should be able to find it easily. Tell them exciting things about yourself in under 4 sentences. Tell them how they can contact you. Also let them behind the scenes and tell your customers who are reading how you really do business. Don't be afraid to be yourself.
You should have a contact page and make it easy for your customer to reach you for any inquires via email.
You should have a Frequently Asked Questions page. If you're noticing that your customers are having a lot of the same questions, make sure you add it to your FAQ page. You'll save a lot of time in the future by not having to type the same information to different customers.
You should have a shipping policy that is very customer friendly. Give them another reason to buy from you and not your competitor.
You're going to be listing products that sell for at least $250 you can offer them free shipping. In my experience, the dropshippers will give you free shipping anyways so it's a no brainer. You don't pay for shipping and neither do your customers. If your dropshipper doesn't ship for free, find another dropshipper that will.
In testing, I've noticed that there isn't a significant difference when you offer a return policy as opposed to not accepting any returns.
Offer a better return policy than your competition. In retail, your customer always know what they are buying. You should have a return policy because your customer likes knowing in the back of their minds that the option to return their order is available. In all my years of doing business, I've had 1 customer return their order. The sale was $600 and I paid $45 for shipping. Considering my sales were $525,000 in the last two years, having a return policy was absolutely worth it. You want to accept a 60 day return policy on eBay and say that you will pay for return shipping. This gives the customer virtually no risk purchasing from you. You want to be better than your competitors and give your customers the best value so they will purchase with you and not someone else. Again, you have nothing to be afraid of because since 2006, I've had 1 return. I swear to you, only 1 return. So you have nothing to worry about. It's the cost of doing business.
Carousels allow multiple pieces of content to occupy a single, coveted space on your website. This allows you to market up to 5 products you want to promote on your website. Bigcommerce makes it easy for you to design your own Carousel for your website. Learn more.
You want to make sure you have a nice looking Marketing Banner. You want to promote your company policies using this feature.
Lowest Price Guarantee
The point is to promote the benefits you have for your customers.
You can pick the products you want featured on your home page. This will help promote products on your website.
This will automatically pull the most recent products you've listed on your website and place it in this field on your homepage. This will help promote newly released products and tell your customers what products that are now in stock.
This field will automatically put in the products you sell most of. People like to move with the herd mentality. If enough people are doing it, they will believe they should do it too.
Customers might have this perception when they see products in the popular products section on your website.
BigCommerce Value Pricing Plans
$25/month buys you 100 products to list
$40/month buys you 500 products to list
Remember, you're not trying to list a bunch of products. New releases will makeup for 80%% of your sales each month. Start out with the $25/month plan and see if you can handle 100 products. See if you're even selling the majority of those products. If you are, you can increase your plan to 500 products per month.
Setup like eBay
What's great about Bigcommerce is that it's setup like eBay. You don't need to be an expert in HTML or any coding. You're paying for the convenience of being able to go in with almost no knowledge and have a great custom website design.
You can access the knowledge base here.
This is where you can access a ton of information for how-to stuff on Bigcommerce.
Type in “carousel” into the knowledge base search bar. You'll see all of these different answers come up.
See for yourself
You'll learn how to customize the carousel on your homepage.
Type in “marketing banner into the knowledge base. You'll see all of these different answers.
You'll see plenty of options that will help you create a marketing banner.
You're going to be successful based off your ability to adapt and learn many skills. Your age doesn't matter, an open mind does.
If for some reason the knowledge base doesn't answer one of your questions, you can look on the Bigcommerce forums.
You can ask a question about something you need help with and someone will answer it within 24 hours for free.
It's pretty amazing. When I was designing sportspulsecards.com there were two questions that weren't answered in the knowledge base.So I went to the forums and both my questions were answered in 24 hours.
Choosing a BigCommerce Store Theme
Choosing a Business Logo Nike Approves
My good friend referred me to this company called the Netmen Corp. They made my friend a great logo and I figured why not give them a shot. I didn't know Fiverr existed and thought $150 was the going rate for a professional logo.
Someone from the company emailed me within 24 hours to inquire about my request to have a logo designed for my company.
3 business days later, they gave me 6 logo concepts.#3 and #6 were the best options and had the looks of a great logo. Something was missing though. In #3 the writing was too small and in #6 the symbol didn't look great.
I gave the Netmen Corp those notes and 2 business days later they gave me these concept logos.These are all pretty much great looking logos and I was very impressed with the job they did. I'd have a logo that could last a lifetime for $149.00
I held a vote with all my customers. Offering them $5 off their next order. Within 24 hours, I had over 75 votes and there was an overwhelming response for #12 & #10.
Logo #12 and #10 are interchangeable so I opted for both. I am the proud 100%% owner of this beautifully done logo for Sports Pulse.
If I ever want to make a change or a small adjustment, the Netmen Corp gave me all of the proper files for a design change to be made.
The Netmen Corp customer service is great. They fulfilled everything I wanted and all for $149.00
List Products for Sale on BigCommerce
Design a BigCommerce Store Carousel to Increase Sales
Email Marketing is an Important Concept
|Section 6: Email Marketing to Increase Sales and Create Repeat Customers|
Selling "Add-on Items" to Increase Profit with Every Order
Best Practice Selling Techniques
Not Always True
If you're selling a product that is great because it is rare, then you should use scarcity as the best selling practice.
Selling baseball cards, people are looking to get the card that is worth $10k. Point out if that card is still available and in packs. “Only so many cases left, and that Ted Williams 1/1 card is still available, worth $10k.”
If you're selling a product that deals with solving a fear in people's lives, then you should never use scarcity as a selling practice.
Sell baseball card protection supplies. Focus on everyone who has protected their cards with the products you're selling. This will give your customers reassurance that your products will work for them and protect their cards.
Increase Email Signups by Following This Best Practice
Creating an Email Followup Series to Sell Products
Creating an Email Broadcast Series to Sell Products
|Section 7: Not To-Do (Lists to Avoid Mistakes)|
Don't Carry an Inventory
When you buy wholesale and carry an inventory of your products upfront you run the risk of several things. You're taking all the financial risk when you buy an inventory without having the sale first. You're decreasing your cash flow in the short term to increase your cash flow for the long term.
Let your wholesalers carry the inventory and take the financial risk. You don't have to. Never carry an inventory. You're increasing your cash flow every time you make a sale in the short term and in the long term.
When Sports Pulse decided to take an inventory it was because sports cards can go up in value tremendously and they unfortunately can go down in price tremendously. I decided to invest into buying an inventory for myself in the hopes that the new released sports card products would increase in price on the release date and I'd be able to sell them to a wholesaler for a profit.
Unfortunately for Sports Pulse, this was an unneeded risk to take on. Especially because if a products price decreased on release date, wholesalers would be looking to dump their inventory to minimize their losses and I'd make a killing.
Instead, I was the person who needed to dump their inventory because, I didn't have a ton of cash flow and needed to take whatever money I could.
If I didn't buy any products, and kept to the dropshipping plan, wholesalers would have been dumping their products at great prices. They would retail the same product for much more to retail customers because they wanted to minimize their losses. I had no financial burden to account for so I could list a product for $50 cheaper than what retail stores were selling it for. I'd make a sale because I was able to give the customer the best price and I would buy the case from the wholesaler. When a product's price drops, these are the times when I profit most, especially when I do not carry the financial burden.From there on out I decided to bet seldom, meaning I would never carry an inventory because the financial gain vs. the financial loss was not worth it. It was easier for me to lose money carry an inventory than it was for me to increase income. RULE #1 NEVER CARRY AN INVENTORY. The risk does not outweigh the reward.
Don't Presale Items on eBay
Presales in the sports card industry can be an amazing way to increase sales. Again, for Sports Pulse the risk does not outweigh the reward. Presales are the practice of arranging the sale of a product before it is available. For example, you and the buyer agree on the sales price and they give you a $100 deposit that goes towards their balance. If they decide not to pay for the rest of their order, you're stuck with that inventory. You also get that $100 deposit of theirs. There is another way to look at it. The customer is a very good customer of yours and they presale an order with you placing a $100 deposit. Time goes by and lets say Jasper doesn't want their order anymore and wants back the $100 deposit. You can either give back the $100 deposit and you're stuck with the inventory from their product but you'd keep Jasper as a customer and he'd probably make you 10x that $100's back sooner rather than later.. Or you can keep the $100 deposit, keep the inventory, and lose Jasper as a customer. That's situation by situation basis. The main point to remember is, enough customers might cancel their pre sale orders with you and you'll be stuck with that inventory. I want no upfront costs, so thats why RULE #2 NEVER PRESELL INVENTORY PRODUCTS.
Never Ship an Order Until You're Paid in Full
It might seem obvious, but greed can take over. A buyer on eBay messaged me and we made a deal. He bought 2 products for $1700 and the profit was $250. That's almost 15%% and it's something I almost never see in the sports card business. I messaged him off eBay and convinced him to buy another $5670 from me. He was going to send me a check and he seemed trustworthy. I'd never been screwed before and wasn't looking for it to happen to me ever. This deal though, that check never came and the excuses did. Considering he paid already on eBay and I emailed him looking to sell more that it would be OK. Selling $5670 to a customer was a normal thing so I didn't think anything of the money amount. The check never came and I lost $5670 and me being 23 years old, that's a lot of money and set me back quite a ways. NEVER SHIP AN ORDER WITHOUT GETTING PAID. Your customer will understand and the legit customer who want your business will always give you the money upfront before they expect you to ship their order out. The risk is not worth the reward. In theory, I had to sell $56,700 in products to make that money back.
Ship Orders to their Billing Address
I made a sale on eBay and shipped out the product to the customer. Through eBay I was talking to her about how this order was a gift for her husband and she needed the order by a certain date. That process went well and wanted to follow up with her about how her husband liked it. She wanted another product for him and placed an order for $259.99. The billing address was different from the shipping address and didn't really wonder why. Was skeptical with fraud, but greed took over for me as it might with you. Don't let the greed take over because PayPal froze the money of $419.99 for the first sale of Michelles and Bank of America took the $259.99 from my bank account because of fraudulent activity. PayPal gave me the $419.99 back because I was protected with PayPal seller protection. Bank of America did not give back the $259.99 because I shipped to an address DIFFERENT from the billing address. RULE#4 ALWAYS SHIP TO THE BILLING ADDRESS there is no need for you to potentially be at risk and lose 100%% of the money from the sale.
Never Overspend on Business Expenses
Always keep your low cost/no overhead and always hustle for what you want to get in life. Webhosting was costing me $150/month, eBay subscription was costing $180/month. It wasn't increasing my income to spend that extra money on website hosting and an eBay store subscription. So I cut those expenses. Always do it the free way first and see if it works. If you can increase your income by spending some money, then try it. Test the waters on a small incremental basis. Test what works and focus on what works in order to make a killing.
Don't Use eBay Auction Listings
|Section 8: How to Be Productive and Maximize Your Time|
How to Create an Asset to Think Long Term Profits
When you start your own business, you're creating an asset. You're not trading your hours for short term gains. Lawyers and doctors get paid by the hour, even if it's $100 an hour. They are limited to the hours in the day for how much money they can make.
When you create a business, the hours you work today will give you long-term gains. You're not exactly trading in your hours anymore for money. It might take take you 40 hours to create a video course and sell it for the next 3-5 years. For example, I created a video course “Udemy Profits” in 16 hours. In it's first month, it profited $1,200.00. That's $75.00 an hour just a month later. As long as the course is relevant for the next 3-5 years, the $75.00 an hour can turn into a $1,000.00 an hour.
When you're creating an asset, you're trading in your hours for long-term gains. Isn't that what employers do anyways? Isn't that what Staples doing? They don't see the benefits of your work immediately. The work you put in on the short term, will earn them more money in the long term. They're creating an asset. If you want to make money, you create an asset for yourself instead of your employer. You no longer need to take out a loan, you can create a company on the internet for a small upfront cost.
Quantify Your Business and Improve Profits
There is no such thing as a lack of time. We all have plenty of time to do everything we really want to do in this life. We all must live on 168 hours a week. A great deal of what happens is unimportant and can be disregarded. There is an enormous amount of waste in our lives. You need to recognize the majority of things in your life have a little impact in the major scheme of things and only a minority of things have a major dominant impact. 80%% of the results come from 20%% of the effort and time. 80%% of company profits come from 20%% of the products and customers.
This is called the 80/20 principle. I didn't invent this concept and it's not a new one either. Identify where you are getting back more than you are putting in, you can up the stakes and make a killing. Similarly, if you can work out where you are getting back much less than you are investing, you can cut your losses. You do not usually get back what you put in. You can get back much less than what you put in or much more. Discipline is the ability to figure out what's worth your time and effort, and what's not – and how to cut out the latter. You want to get as much as you can in return for your investment of time and energy.
Find out what 80%% of profits comes from 20%% of its products. You should put all of your efforts behind selling more of those products. Concentrate on the 20%% of customers who account for 80%% of your profits and find out what those 20%% of customers want.
Setting Smart Goals to Create a Business
Are you a force or a consequence? Are you one who creates, acts, and does? Life is short. It takes confidence to live the life you deeply feel is your own.
Decide on all actions you need to take. You need to keep reminders in a system that you check regularly. You only want to focus on the essentials and drop the rest. This makes for a life much happier, less stressed, and more productive. Build your life one action at a time. First thing in the morning, work on your most important task and don't do anything else until it is done. When you are working, turn off all distractions. Shut off email and shut off your cell phone. Stop checking Facebook. If you become distracted, it will show negatively in your work.
Collect things that command your attention. Write down the project or situation that is most on your mind at this moment. Process what they mean and what to do about them. Write down the very next physical action required to move the situation forward. Choose the best option at that point in time. Identify the essential commitments. Eliminate the rest.
More is not better. Your greatest challenge will be resisting the temptation to do more. Not only is this wasteful, it is a predictable path for preventing and reversing gains. Purge all the stuff you don't need and organize the things you want to keep and welcome new information.
TO-DO Write down 10-15 goals you want to accomplish in your life.
What is the most important thing that you have to do? Focus on achieving the ONE important thing.
Don't let your emotions control your actions. You'll never get anything productive done. Let your actions control your emotions. Once you take action in doing what you know you should be doing, your emotions will follow suit afterwards. You need to be the leader of your own life because no one else is going to be looking out for your happiness more than you are. Use this as an opportunity to give your gifts and you never need to prove something to someone else. Dream big and don't be embarrassed about what you are doing. Get others to invest in your visions and dreams and allow your friends to become fans.
Batching Tasks to Maximize Productivity
Time consumers are things you might not want to do, but need to do anyways. Things like paying your bills and checking email. These are time wasters because they're repetitive daily or weekly tasks. You can solve this problem by batching these tasks together and complete them at once. For example, batch email tasks by checking email once a day at 4 p.m. and pay all your bills on the same day each month. Apply this principle to every task you find repetitive and they become less time consuming :)
How to Become an Expert in Productivity
Why you should care about your time...Time is life and irreversible. So to master your time is to master life. There's no such thing as a lack of time. We have plenty of time to do everything that we really want to do. Everyone must live on 168 hours per week. They have as many hours as you do to accomplish what you want to accomplish. It's how you use those hours that really matter. You're in control of your time. Every single thing you do you've decided on one way or another. So whatever your life is up to this point you've ultimately made the decision. It's okay if you've made some foolish decisions, I've made plenty myself. You're learning this life thing as you go. What you want to do now, is put the past behind you and learn from your mistakes. Improve your life starting now, and have no regrets because what you've done in your life has led exactly up to this moment. Start focusing on doing the right things. This allows you to be flexible. The ideal is having balance and you're the judge of how to spend your time. The use of your time is a highly personal individual matter of choice. To be productive, focus on things that are bothering you the most right now, and do it immediately. That's what it means to start focusing and accomplishing the right things in your life. If you're about to watch TV, ask yourself "is this something I should really be spending my time on doing?" The answer is most likely no, and you're procrastinating doing something much more important.
|Section 9: Bonus Lecture|
Why I Teach:
While studying to become a Communication Major at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, I built a successful eBay business on the side.
After college, I moved to an apartment in Boston, MA (that I could barely afford) to create Udemy courses, teaching students how to sell on eBay.
The goal is to help hardworking people start a successful online business at an affordable cost.
Currently, I'm teaching people how to emulate my successes by offering cutting-edge training courses and passionate support communities that help them start a side businesses more quickly and easily.
The courses provide everything one could need to start and grow a home business. I've discovered principles, strategies, and technologies that produce real, measurable business results — without the expensive costs.
Things I Like:
Bowling, reading, beer, hiking, good deli meat, memorable experiences, my girlfriend, family, and close friends.
Skillhance helps hardworking people start a successful side business at an affordable cost.
Students get access to cutting-edge training courses and passionate support communities that help them start a side businesses more quickly and easily.
The courses provide everything one could need to start and grow a home business. We've discovered principles, strategies, and technologies that produce real, measurable business results — without the expensive upfront costs.