Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Product Sourcing for eBay Sellers

If it's Tuesday, it must be time for another episode of eBay Tips & Tricks.

Let's talk about the biggest problem most eBay sellers have.. Sourcing. Without a doubt the biggest hurdle most sellers face is where to find a consistent supply of merchandise to sell. First off, don't fall into using a commercial drop ship company. These companies buy hundreds of items and warehouse them for you. When you sell an item they ship it for you. It sounds great, in theory, but in reality their costs are usually too high and with lots of sellers trying to sell the same things the competition is too tight to make a profit.
The most successful sellers find their products in a number of ways. Let's review some here.

1. Garage Sales and yard sales have limited coverage areas and you can find good used items at great prices if you take the time to visit them on a regular basis. Remember, fancier neighborhoods have better items than poor or middle class neighborhoods. Early birds DO get the worm and the first people at a good yard sale will walk away with the best items. Estate sales have better items than garage or yard sales and usually feature things that have been collected over a number of years. Garage sale ads that say "moving to a smaller house mean these people are doing more than just cleaning out the junk.

2. Going out of business sales can be a real bonanza. Some companies will advertise "going out of business" only to take the best merchandise and reopen with a different name or in a different location. Be sure the business is REALLY closing. If they are really going out of business, don't be afraid to make an offer on a quantity of items. They may surprise you and accept your offer.

3. Auction houses are another place to find unusual items and pick up great bargains. Many companies will liquidate their excess inventory through an auction house and you can gain the advantage of buying new items at greatly reduced prices.

4. Thrift shops, including Goodwill, Salvation Army and a variety of Resale shops are another place to find good items to sell on eBay. Many people don't want to bother with a yard sale and prefer to donate their goods to a charity thrift shop. Check them out frequently as they move through their best inventory quickly.

5. Discount stores and factory outlets. While consulting with sellers for eBay, I had a client who spent a large portion of every day waiting for a local factory store to find the best items. Whenever they brought out a new rack of clothing she would buy the best items, take them to her van and return to the store to wait for the next rack. While she shopped, her husband was home taking photos and listing the items on eBay. They had more than $25,000 in sales every month!

6. Look into sources close to your home for buying unclaimed freight, returns, seasonal overstocks, liquidations, etc. You might find a new source that brings your eBay business to the next level.

7. Last but not least.. there are just to many sources to mention, contact traditional product manufacturers and distributors and inquire about setting up a wholesale account. Buying products at a true wholesale price and selling it at a discount from retail can still generate a great profit. If you don't have overhead and employee salaries to pay you can give a discount of 15 to 20% off retail and still realize a 10-20% profit! Some manufacturers and distributors will also drop ship for you and you won't even have to carry the cost of inventory! It's a great way to do business!

8. Okay, one more. Become an eBay Trading Assistant and sell things for other people. They provide the merchandise and you do the selling. The return is a nice percentage of the sales price ending up in your pocket.

Good luck and happy eBaying!

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