How to Take Your eBay Selling to the Next Level

flea-market-270566_1280I recently wrote about my experience of getting rid of stuff from around the house and selling the items on eBay. For some people, this process can last a long time – they’ve built up a big “inventory” through the years – but others find the pickings fairly slim after a few weeks.

If you’ve enjoyed your experience selling on eBay, and want to devote more time to it, you have to start purchasing items for resale. Here are some questions to ask yourself and ideas to consider if you want to take your eBay selling to the next level.

What is your long term vision? Do you want a little extra spending money or would you like to turn eBay selling into a full-time business, or one component of a retail business? If you watch shows such as American Pickers and Storage Wars, you’ll see some ways that vendors find stock to sell online, often through eBay auctions. You’ll also see that these vendors have other ways to means their merchandise, including retail stores or selling at flea markets or swap meets.

What is your area of expertise? Do you have a hobby or have you been collecting anything for many years? If you’re an expert in an area, you might start your resale career by selling in that area. Recognizing value is the critical skill to have when you’re shopping for items to list on eBay.

TIP: Sometimes items that don’t have a high enough resale value in the United States, have additional value overseas. If you’re an expert in certain collectibles, are there overseas buyers who will pay a premium for those items?

How to find merchandise

You usually want to maximize your margins when you sell on eBay so you need to buy items as cheaply as possible. If you’re looking for general merchandise here are some ideas:

  • Offer to clean out cluttered garages, rooms, attics for relatives and friends. Do the work and haul away the stuff in exchange for keeping any items you think may be valuable.
  • Cruise the weekend garage sales and flea markets. Find the websites and newspapers where these sales are listed. All the professional shoppers get there early.
  • Study the local auction houses. There are probably several auctioneers in your area. Invest a little time learning how they work and which ones have potential to supply your eBay startup. If you feel lucky and savvy enough, try an abandoned storage unit auction.
  • Look for online auctions. Bulk quantities of returned or “damaged” merchandise are auctioned off in large lots on the Internet. These can be a gamble, but smart buyers often turn a profit. Also, many local governments auction off surplus items on a regular basis. Check city and county websites.
  • Find the nearby super-bargain stores. Most larger communities have one or two stores that deal in returned or cosmetically damaged merchandise from major retailers. Look for the “clearance” items in these stores that have been marked down to 75 percent off original retail.

Consider all these sources for merchandise in the context of how far you want to take your eBay business. For example, if you buy a storage unit, or some pallets from a damaged shipment, you may have to go rent a storage unit yourself. But if you buy a few pieces of glassware at garage sales next weekend, you can probably keep those at home without much difficulty.

Finally, eBay has an excellent learning center where you can find tutorials on all the basics as well as information on ramping up your selling.

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