There are also numerous places to find items to sell online. Finding items from your computer or portable device can be particularly advantageous if you are tied to a desk at work or only have time to look for inventory when most physical stores are closed.
Bargains abound on eBay and Craigslist, but you have to consider that you are competing with other resellers for your items to sell, and it will cost you more to get your source material to sell than it would if you found the same item at a garage sale. You also have to consider that on top of the higher cost per item, you will also probably have to pay shipping costs for your items.
Having said that, there is definitely profit to be made on many items listed on eBay. So… What are we looking for exactly, you ask? The trick is to be smarter and more diligent than your competing sellers on EBay. You want to win your items for the lowest possible ending price (net ending price, including shipping costs).
I have had very good luck winning large lots of items, such as boxes of books, and then re-listing individual books from the lots on eBay or Amazon. I have found several $100 books and quite a few $50 collectible books in bulk lots of books that I won for under $5. I have also won quite a few books and other collectibles for 99 cents, which I immediately re-listed with a better listing page and resold for over $50.
Here are some quick pointers. Do not bid until the last minute of an online auction if at all possible. Many auctions do not get bids at all, especially obscure collectibles that are valuable only to a select few. These items can be very profitable, if you have the ability to find those people that collect them. You may have to re-list these items multiple times, or allow them to sit in your Amazon inventory for months. But, they have the potential to make big profits.
Items that do have bids tend to draw the competition’s attention, and if you bid early, someone will often outbid you at the last second. There are ‘auction sniping’ programs and applications that can help you win bids at the very last second, but they cost money. It’s up to you to determine if you think the program is worth the added expense.
Look for inventory when you don’t have a lot of competing bidders. You can steal auctions late at night, on holidays, and early in the morning.
You are also looking for the lazy sellers’ auction items or lots. Try to find the lots where the listing seller did not do his or her homework and does not know the value of the items. Look for misspelled words and author’s or musician’s names.
Look for short descriptions that don’t specify content. For instance, an EBay listing titled only ‘Grammas old books’ would definitely catch my attention for several reasons. Number one, the books are probably going to be older and potentially collectible. Number two, the seller is lazy and not very bright. They cannot spell ‘grandma’, and they didn’t care enough to tell the bidders what kind of books are in the lot and whether they were valuable.
I typically search specific category locations where bulk lots are listed like music, books, or collectibles. You are given check boxes on the top of the page that allows you to sort by ‘best match’, ‘lowest price’, etc. I click on ‘lowest price, plus shipping’, which gives you the entire category listed, with the lowest priced items, plus shipping costs added in at the top.
Usually you have to sift through a bunch of garbage for the first couple of pages, but sometimes you will find a gem. You can also sort by auctions ‘Ending Soonest’ to see the auctions that are very close to ending. That can also help you win excellent lots or items.
When I find interesting auctions to bid on, I ‘Watch’ the auctions. Watching auctions allows you to easily come back to the auction at a later date or time if the price at the end of the auction is still to your liking.
Simply go to your ‘My EBay’ page, click on your ‘Bidding’ link and check the auctions that you are watching. If you are watching a number of items, you should leave yourself a note somewhere where you will see it often, reminding you of what the item is, when it ends, and how high you are willing to bid to win the auction. It’s easy to get tied up with something else and miss the end of an auction that you really wanted to win without placing a bid.
Another idea is to search for a specific title, instead of looking in your usual categories. A lot of times, sellers will accidentally list items in the wrong category by forgetting to change the category when they are listing many auctions at once (Yes, I’ve done it, too.). Some sellers just do not know where to sell items, and list them in the wrong locations, as well.
There are additional considerations with EBay auctions. Don’t get burned by a lazy or dishonest seller. EBay provides bidders with information to avoid some of these problems. After a person wins an auction and receives the item that they won, they are given an opportunity to provide ‘feedback’ to other potential bidders, regarding their buying experience for that particular seller.
Each seller is given a feedback score that tells you how many feedbacks they have received. It also has a positive feedback percentage to the right of the seller’s name. If the seller has had over 100 feedbacks, and a score of over 95%, they are probably a reliable seller. You can also read individual feedbacks by clicking on the feedback number, and you can read what other buyers had to say about their experience with that seller.
You also want to CAREFULLY read the descriptions of the items that you are potentially bidding on, and make sure that you understand what the seller is listing. It seems like that would be obvious, but quite often, sellers don’t take the time to adequately describe items. Sometimes, they just don’t have time because they are listing tons of items. Other times, items have short descriptions in order to purposefully omit condition issues with the item(s).
Make sure that you have the information you need BEFORE bidding on it, especially if the auction would potentially cost you some money. Use the ‘Ask Seller’ link to get the information you need before you place a bid.