From: Andrew Minalto eBay PowerSeller
Registered TWF Seller
CEO of SpicyAuctionTemplates.com Contact Me | FAQ
Hello & Welcome to the Easy Auction Business weekly video newsletter!
Last week we started talking about how to effectively import products from China for resale on eBay AND most importantly – how to do it safely! Just a quick reminder on the product groups you should avoid when dealing with the Chinese suppliers:
You won't find genuine items from these product groups in China. We also started talking about my 10 criteria system you can use to prevent yourself from being scammed. The first five are:
1. Products for sale
2. Alexa Rank & Google Page Rank
3. Domain name
4. Company Information
5. Payment options
If you haven't watched the first video, you can always find previous newsletters on the archive page.
So let’s go through the rest 5 criteria you can use when finding a legit wholesaler or manufacturer from China!
6. Contact e-mails
This one is very simple – if the contact e-mails on suppliers website are hosted on FREE online service websites (Hotmail, Yahoo etc.), it's a sure warning sign of a possible scam operation. Why? There are two reasons behind it:
2. There are lots of scammers on the Internet who copy other companies’ websites and just change the contact details and the websites’ names. This way they instantly get nice looking websites with a full product catalog for free. They just use their own e-mails for the contact page.
Now, when you contact a person who uses Hotmail e-mail address you'll never know whether the person actually works in this company. It could be just a clone website! These can also be easily spotted by the Alexa & Page Rank criterion.
7. Who Is database
Who Is data base simply gathers and archives domain registration information. You can go to WhoIs.net and find out when a particular domain name was registered and who registered it. There are two things you're interested in:
1. When the domain name was registered. Common sense dictates that the longer domain name has been registered, the better are chances of the company being legit. Of course, this is not always the case as there are hundreds of new companies registering their domain names on a weekly basis. Just be cautious when dealing with recently registered websites.
2. Domain name’s registrar name – Who Is data base will show you the person’s name or the company who registered the domain name. Ideally it will be the same company as advertised on website. However, even if you spot that it’s a Private Registration and the actual domain name’s holder doesn’t reveal his name – there's really nothing wrong with it. Many companies and individuals prefer to protect their identity on the Net.
If you're serious about what you're doing, you should have a pretty good idea on how much the products might cost. Once you’re looking for a particular product you should definitely know the retail and wholesale pricing.
If there are price lists available on the website, ask yourself if they make sense. There still will be a lot of products you can source dirt cheap from China, no doubt about that – sometimes you'll be amazed how cheaply the products can be bought directly from the manufacturers. But as an industry expert, you'll know that some products, product categories and models will be more expensive than others.
Why is this important? Because in many cases the pricing on the scammer websites is very odd – for example, products from completely different quality categories are priced very similarly.
Another warning sign is that on scammer websites large groups of products usually will have the same price which won't be the case with a legit supplier. Also, if free shipping is offered for large, heavy products (like LCD TVs, for example) it's most likely to be a scam.
9. Google Search
Why not enter the company’s name or the website’s name in Google's searchand see what comes up? Do not underestimate other people’s opinion & experience – if there are bad, negative reviews, leave that supplier alone and move forward. Forums, like TheWholesaleForums.com are also a great place to look for advice. Just do it before transferring money to the supplier, otherwise you’ll be able to open a new forum thread under a category “How I got scammed the other day”.
Also, if you can't find any Google search results for the particular company’s name, it could be a sign that something dodgy is going on.
10. Use Common Sense
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is! It's very important to get the right mindset when looking for a new supplier – you should look at every new company you find with 100% skepticism!
This is especially important when dealing with suppliers from China – as you know; websites like Alibaba, Tradekey and similar ones are overloaded with scammers. Always take that extra mile to double check everything before dealing with anyone.
How to Implement my 10 criteria system
OK, now you're aware of the 10 criteria you can use to spot a potential scam operation. How to use them? Basically, a legit supplier will comply with all 10 of them, with some rare occasions. So the idea behind this investigation is to filter out all the scammers to save your time and money in the future.
Here's how I usually do it:
1. When landing on the website pay close attention on the overall design & layout. If the website looks really crappy, stay away! Sure, even not all legit supplier websites will look amazingly, but a serious supplier will get at least decent design and make sure the overall website's usability is good. After all – their business depends on it!
2. The next thing I look at is the Alexa & Google Page Ranks – as I have installed this handy toolbar, it takes me just a few seconds to evaluate these indicators. If the Page Rank is zero and Alexa rank is more than one million, I leave that website alone. If the Page Rank is 3 for example but the Alexa rank is several millions, I accept that and continue with the next steps. And don't forget to take a look at the domain name! Remember, if there is a popular brand name in it, it's most likely a scam.
3. Next, find “About Us” & “Contact” pages. Again, if there are free e-mails used, no address, no company name, no registration number, and no phone numbers – leave that website alone.
Also, pay close attention to other informative webpages on that website– is there FAQ, Help, New Customers pages? What about “Payment Options”?
Not in all cases the website will have all this information for the customers’ convenience. BUT if it has a good number of help pages, it's a good sign that you have found a good supplier.
4. Take a look at the product images – do they have their own watermarked pictures or they look like taken from somewhere else? In most cases, legit suppliers will have their own, ideally – watermarked images.
That's it as far as the on-page factors go. If everything looks OK, use the other criteria for gathering more information: Who Is data base and Google search. If there aren’t any negative comments about this company, you can take the next step, which is – the First Contact!
The truth is that by using the previously mentioned filter system, you'll get a lot of websites that look OK. But that’s not enough – you have to know HOW to speak with a supplier. Many people are afraid of asking too many questions but in fact you should do exactly that – ask as many questions as you can possibly think of!
Send out the first e-mail and ask for their company’s registration & export certificate’s scanned versions. Ask about the payment options, shipping options and order lead times. Ask them if it’s OK to visit their factory or warehouse in person. Ask them for a phone number.
Then wait for a reply. If they reply within 24 to 48 hours, it's a good sign that they have a proper sales mechanism in place. It's a good thing – most of the factories in China will have dedicated sales people who’ll deal with you directly.
Don't take any of their excuses for granted!!! If they can't send you the registration & export certificates just because their scanner is broken (for some weird reason), leave them alone. If they gave you their phone number – make the call! What can you lose? Nothing! Pay close attention to who’s picking up the phone and what is the introduction – is it a simple “Hi!” or the person introduces him/herself as the company’s representative?
The next thing is asking about a sample order. Legit suppliers won't have any problems with small initial sample orders. I have also received samples from manufacturers for free and didn’t even have to pay the shipping costs! Of course, this won't happen very often, but the way they react on such a request will tell you a lot about that particular company. Scammers will try to convince you into making a bigger order instead to save on shipping etc.
Shipping costs – you have to be realistic. Quite often scammers will offer ridiculously cheap shipping, even free – if your order is bigger. Remember, the fastest and cheapest way to get samples from China to the UK is using EMS. It costs about 5-10 GBP per kg, so if you order a product that weights 20kg, and the supplier says the shipping will cost only $40 – it’s just impossible. Ask the potential supplier – why shipping is so low?
This is a very simplified layout on how you should check the suppliers from China. There are many more small elements you should pay closer attention to but the criteria I gave you in these 2 newsletters are the most important ones, at least in my opinion.
The main reason why so many people get scammed is because they look for the wrong products in the wrong place. Period! Rather than concentrating on some niche market research most people try finding a way to make quick money by importing top selling electronics, mobile phones and DVDs from China to sell on eBay. There's no such a thing, so forget about it!
But there are hundreds of niche products you can source from China safely and make a very comfortable living by selling them online. By using the strategies from “The Inventor's Mindset” video, you can achieve phenomenal results! In one specific niche I have a ROI of 800%, with an average order of 30 pounds. That's what I call a viable long term eBay business! And when you have profit numbers like these, you won't worry much about the insertion fees or the final value fees.
Andrew Minalto is founder and CEO of the Web's largest auction templates company SpicyAuctionTemplates.com. Andrew runs successful information publishing business as well as an eBay store and an online retail store.
At the age of just 23 he has achieved a phenomenal success in selling both physical and information products online. Hard work and belief in his dreams enabled him to leave a dusty Dublin warehouse in winter 2006 to go full-time online.
The recently launched EasyAuctionBusiness.com website is dedicated for all people trying to achieve financial freedom or just to make some extra money by selling on eBay.co.uk