3 Advantages For US Importers Selling On eBay Over Chinese Exporters
by Jared Vineyard
The Asian Exporters Index from eBay revealed many Chinese exporters are making over a million dollars annually selling on eBay.
What’s happening is many businesses and manufacturers in China are shifting from a business-to-business sales model to a business-to-consumer model. Where importers in the U.S. would buy wholesale from a manufacturer in China and sell to consumers here, the Chinese manufacturer is selling straight to U.S. consumers using sites like eBay and Amazon.
As an American importer, or a person with an entrepreneurial mind looking to get into importing and selling goods on eBay, this shift of cutting out the “middle man” (or middle woman or middle business) may make you nervous. After all, the “middle man” being cut out is you! You can’t really compete with the manufacturer on a price point basis if you’re trying to sell the same items to the same consumers.
Take a deep breath. Try not to worry.
There are still distinct advantages you have as an American importer selling on eBay (or Amazon, your own site, etc.) in this market over Chinese exporters who are selling directly to consumers using eBay. It’s also good to remember that you don’t compete strictly on a price point basis.
Below are 3 advantages you have as a U.S. importer selling on eBay in the American marketplace over Chinese exporters selling here on eBay.
It should be noted that this is not meant to be a complete list of advantages nor that there are no advantages held by those manufacturers who export from China.
1 – Better Knowledge of the Market
You know the American market better than your Chinese counterpart.
How can I be so sure about that?
You are part of the market. You’re not observing the market from a distance. You’re in it every day. You can have confidence in your instincts and tastes when it comes to products for the U.S. market because you developed your tastes growing up inside the American market and have been influenced by American culture your whole life.
Most Chinese exporters are smart, probably study our market, and even have a genuine love for American culture. But they don’t have the same intimate relationship with it you have.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t still study the marketplace you’re selling in, just that being part of it gives you the edge in this category.
This advantage will help you in many aspects of selling products from the marketing material of pictures and descriptions to the selection of products to sell.
Speaking of selecting products to sell, that brings us to…
2 – More Product Flexibility
Importing goods from China (or anywhere around the world), as opposed to being the manufacturer trying to export and sell your own products, gives you much wider options in what you sell.
You’re not limited to selling a particular product or line of products because that’s what you produce.
If you find an item doesn’t sell well, you can easily shift to another. You have all the manufacturers of the world to choose from instead of your own operation’s products.
This ability to change and adapt easily with trends and selling performance of products in the market gives you, the American importer an advantage over the Chinese manufacturer who exports into your market.
3 – Faster Shipping
More and more consumers have an “I want it now” mindset.
When it comes to selling on eBay, shipping time makes a difference. And you hold the advantage again in this category.
I sell books of church skits and scripts online and know first hand how shipping time can affect sales. Selling books I have on hand has a distinct selling advantage over the longer shipping time of selling books print-on-demand. The instant gratification of e-books takes it to a whole ‘nother level.
International shipping has gotten faster, especially with things like the USPS deal made with eBay and China Post to help China exporters ship from China to the U.S. faster and easier. But shipping purely domestically, you still have better shipping times and are able to get products to consumers faster than Chinese exporters.
How To Import for Selling on eBay
It’s easy to look around and see negatives, but hopefully this blog pointing out a few of the advantages you have for selling on eBay as an importer helps keep your outlook positive.
The next blog in this 3 part series about successfully selling on eBay will look at how you import for selling on eBay.