05 November 2007

How it all started...

Now that I have finished explaining about selling in local Malaysian sites, I'll move on to the more interesting topics. Today we shall take a trip down memory lane before heading to the more advance parts, Selling Internationally.

How it all started...
It all started, by chance about 3 years back. I wanted to buy this CF to IDE convertor. After searching the web and eBay, I realized that sellers on eBay are selling me the item at cut throat prices. I decided instead purchase it from a wholesaler from China. In order to get a very good price, I had to have a minimum purchase of $250 USD.
Come to think of it... what was I thinking? I wanted to get a $10 USD item, and ended up with lots more than I needed. To fill my $250USD order, I order all the stuff that the wholesaler carried, like the 2.5" HDD external casing, memory card readers and many more computer accessories.
At that time, I had NEVER bought a single item from online before. Not to mention, hearing horror stories of Chinese from the mainland sending you boxes filled with rocks!! Anyway, my package arrived soon after via DHL. They made a killing from postage too!!!
The joy of receiving the goods soon turned into fear. I had boxes filled with computer accessories that I didn't need. It was pretty expensive, and the total with shipping came to over a thousand Ringgit. What would you do if you were in my shoes?
I started by disposing the items online. I have never sold anything online before. I had no idea and nobody to help me. It was a lot of trial and error at the start. I started by posting the items I had at the lelong.net as well as ebay.com.my. Any sites, that was free, I tried selling my stuff there. Soon after, I was doing pretty well selling the computer accessories at lowyat.net. I made some profit and some enemies as well. My aim was to dispose of the items quickly, so I sold the items at very low prices. In the process, I killed the market...

Friends or Foes?
I made many enemies at the early days at lowyat.net. I remember selling these Sony VAIO 2.5" external casing at the forum for like $20RM. My competitor at the forum was selling at about $28RM. I remember it as it was yesterday, when the competitor PMed (personal message) me. He told me, not to sell the items at such a low price, as I was killing the market value of the goods. Being me, and arrogant at that time, I replied and told him that I was making a profit and screw his opinions. At that time, I only had 20 of these VAIO casing to sell. The next replied came, still in a calm tone, he said that he was willing to buy off all the casing off me. He told me that he had like 200 units and with the crazy low price that I had set, it was in his best interest to retain a better market value by buying me out. Soon after I realized that I was in the middle of a real business. There was money to be made. A huge margin too!! After a few days, we became really good friends. He made me an offer and allowed me to continue to selling the VAIO casing while he stopped selling it, with the condition that I purchase the VAIO casings off him, instead of importing from China.
There was no turning back from that day. I was doing very well, and sold many things at the forum. The partnership was formed and I continue to purchase stocks from my new local supplier. No doubt the items cost a little bit more, but I did not need to bare the risk of importing them directly from China as well as I could purchase the things in small quantity. WIN WIN if you asked me.

Selling Internationally...

Not long after doing very well at the forum, I became very ambitious. I tried selling on ebay.com.my. The sales at the Malaysia eBay were horrible. The reason why I sold there was because it was FREE. Soon after that, I tried selling at a international level. I posted my goods at Australian eBay. Fees were very expensive, at about $1.09 AUD for each item. People from China were selling items at ridiculously low price. Way below my cost. I continued to sell, but soon realized that I could not compete with the Chinese.
One of my friends, asked me to help her disposed of her T-shirts online. She had some from her previous business venture. After selling a few T-shirts internationally, I realized that I was making profits from the sales. Not like those breakeven deals on the computer accessories. Soon after, I slowly changed my inventory from computer accessories to T-shirts. Today I sell mainly clothing and have exited the computer accessories market for more than 2 years.

I must admit it wasn’t an easy journey selling at the internationally level. There were the ups and downs, as well as many obstacles I had to overcome to be where I am today. I have created a system and made many tools over the years to help me run my eBay business. I have read and tried every trick and tools there is. Every day is still a new learning experience for me. I still learn new tricks. I still find ways to optimize and simplify my business. I decided to start this blog, to help my fellow friends get off the ground and profit from Selling Internationally. Hope it will help my fellow Malaysian friends….

GOOD LUCK and Happy Bidding!

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