Paul McQuillin: An AliExpress Success Story

Wholesale sourcing site helps DVD merchant explore new product niches.

by Brad and Debra Schepp
- Apr 26, 2011
Paul McQuillin, paulb0y on eBay

Paul McQuillin began his career in sales long before anyone dreamed about selling on eBay. As a kid, he'd buy bulk lots of candy and then sell individual pieces to his friends. He discovered early on that he loved the profits, and he loved sales!

In 2003, he discovered eBay, and his whole life changed. "I just thought it was the most amazing idea!" McQuillin tells us.

He started his eBay business as most people do: by selling things he already owned but no longer wanted. He saw very quickly that DVDs were popular and sold quickly, so that was the market he concentrated on in the beginning.

"I bought a shop-load of DVDs at auction and listed them individually," McQuillin recalls. He is actually still listing and selling some of those today. But, it also didn't take long for him to grow weary of creating new listings for each individual item he sold. He began looking around for alternatives.

Being based in Sydney, Australia, he added some Vegemite to his product line. He also continued to sell his own no-longer-needed items, and things he came across randomly. Today, his product line is eclectic, including toys, gadgets and some electronics. He has completed more than 2,000 successful sales and maintains a feedback rating of 100 percent.

I thought AliExpress was great because it offers greater variety and price differences

Stock, sell, repeat

More recently, McQuillin decided to start expanding his product line with items he could buy in multiples, allowing him to create one listing that would result in repeat transactions. That's when he started to look for good sources of repeatable items, and his search ultimately led him to AliExpress.

"I found AliExpress after a Google search," he explains. "It's the first site I found, and it's still the only one I use."

Unlike many other newcomers to AliExpress, McQuillin didn't feel overwhelmed by the vast number of manufacturers offering their wares. "I wasn't intimidated," he tells us. "In fact, I thought it was great because it offers greater variety and price differences."

McQuillin loves the vast array of items available for sourcing through the site. He also likes the ease of searching, and the fact that some suppliers even offer free shipping.

His first purchase was a lot of 20 mini-MP3 players that he bought for $3 each and listed for $15. That first batch sold out within just a few days, so McQuillin ordered more. He had the same experience with the second batch, and he was thrilled.

Unfortunately, eBay then took down his listings, because he had inadvertently violated a copyright rule. "I received an e-mail from eBay, and my listing was removed," he recalls. "The MP3 players I was selling looked exactly like a newly released Apple MP3 player."

McQuillin takes this stroke of bad luck in stride. "I thought it was quite funny, because I had no idea," he says.

Do your research first on the products you are thinking of selling

Satisfying results

Today, his product line includes colorful, flashy, silicone quartz watches that any kid would love—and more than a few adults, too. He lists them with a Buy It Now price of $9.95. He also sources other watch styles, jewelry, ear buds and a variety of items.

While McQuillin still lists DVDs and random items he happens to come across, he uses AliExpress exclusively when it comes to sourcing new and repeatable stock items. He is very satisfied with the profit margins of the items he finds on the site, and like so many others, he uses the site to research potential additions to his product line.

The strong profit margins allow McQuillin to easily buy a batch of potential new products for his line, just to test them out. This is a relatively risk-free way to dabble in expanding product offerings.

His advice is much like that of other AliExpress users: "Do your research first on the products you are thinking of selling," he advises. That's good advice, won through his own early stumble. Of course, once you have found a promising new product, don't forget to take your time to carefully check your potential supplier for reliability and responsiveness. As the boss, and ultimately, the one to take the greatest risk, your due diligence will pay for itself many times over.

McQuillin hasn't had any bad experiences with his suppliers through AliExpress. He continues to use the site to make new connections and test new items.

"I search for a product I'd like to try at a price I think is good," he explains. Since he knows going into the deal that he controls his level of risk, he simply tests the water, without worrying too much about the outcome. So far, he has had only good experiences on the site, and has never felt like he's been shortchanged or cheated.

"I would recommend AliExpress," he says enthusiastically. "It's the perfect place to find products."

About the Author

Brad and Debra Schepp are the authors of 20 books, including eBay PowerSeller Secrets and The Official Success Guide: Insider Tips and Strategies for Sourcing Products from the World's Largest B2B Marketplace. Their most recent book, which Deb co-authored with John Lawson, Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-preneurs: It's Not About Likes—It's About Sales, was recently named the 2015 Small Business Book of the Year in the social media category.

For further information, visit Brad and Deb's website,

Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.

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