Selling items on eBay enables you to become an entrepreneur in about 5 minutes working from the comfort of your couch, with no out-of-pocket expense (aside from building initial inventory). eBay businesses are suitable for a wide range of would-be entrepreneurs: stay-at-home moms, retirees, college students, disabled workers, and working adults seeking to supplement their income.
Indeed, if you commit enough hours you can generate a highly attractive income–well into the six figures. Perhaps this is why the site has become so popular.
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According to Entrepreneur.com, there are now more than 247 million registered members buying and selling all types of merchandise on eBay, resulting in sales of over $60 billion each year.
There are several ways to find items to sell that will allow you to get in on the action. Before you begin hitting the stores and other places, first check the site to see what the top-selling items have been for the past month; 3 months; 6 months. Those items that seem to do well over time are the ones you should concentrate on initially.
You can always develop a niche based on your special interests once you get off the ground and have some success (and capital) behind you.
1. Sign up for mailing lists:
When you sign-up to be placed on the mailing lists of retailers you will be notified of upcoming sales before the general public. You will also get coupons for many items and savings codes for online purchases.
Here a few recommendations of stores to sign up with since their merchandise is popular on eBay: The Gap, Old Navy, Bath and Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, Banana Republic, Toys R Us, and Abercrombie & Fitch. Again, these are just suggestions and your research will lead to other possibilities.
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2. Peruse Newspapers:
Look through the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday editions of newspapers for department store coupons and special sales. This is a great way to find items at low prices that will yield an attractive profit since many stores are anxious to move merchandise so discount the price a good deal.
If you have access to such brand-name clothing as Hilfiger, Ashley, Ralph Lauren and Steve Madden you are lucky indeed, since these brands sell very well on eBay. A useful rule of thumb is to wait until items are marked down 50 to 75 percent with an additional percentage marked off on top of that.
3. Shop Outlets for Lower Prices:
Outlets such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Nordstrom’s, The Gap Outlet, Children’s Place, Dress Barn, etc. offer great pricing on name brand clothing and other items. To get even more savings, be sure to sign up for their mailing list.
A word of caution: be sure not to buy any item that has a mark. For example, many of these stores run a gold or white line through outlet clothing. While you can sell them on eBay, you will not get near as much as you will for unmarked items.
4. Clearance Sales:
Many stores that are going out of business offer their inventory for sales at significantly reduced prices. This is a great way to stock up on many items at great savings. When you buy in bulk, make sure you keep a running inventory of your purchases so that you can list for sale items in a timely manner. For example, costumes do very well on eBay, as do Christmas gift items.
To generate the most profit you want to stock up on such items and offer them for sale well before the season arrives in order to beat-out your competitors. You can also peruse sites such as Liquidation.com which offers surplus inventory in a range of categories, including house wares, clothing, and electronics
5. Garage Sales:
Here is a place to get fantastic bargains on a wide range of items. The best times to attend the sale are right when it starts to get the best selection of items and near the end because sellers are more willing to negotiate on price rather than haul the unwanted items back to their house. Do not be disheartened if rains on the day of the sale because that means less people will show up and there will be more items for you to buy. Bad weather will also tend to make sellers be more flexible with regard to price.
Word of caution: Do NOT let the sellers know you are planning to re-sell the items on eBay since they will be less likely to negotiate the price. Small community papers often advertise these sales, and they are also frequently posted to the telephone poles in your neighborhood.
6. Additional resources:
Other places to locate sale items include flea markets, thrift stores, Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, Craigslist.org, and consignment stores. As an eBay entrepreneur you want to be on constant look-out for bargains because they may appear in the unlikeliest of places—grandma’s attic or the curb of your neighbor’s residence.
7. Free Inventory:
Freecycle.org is a great Web site on which people post their unwanted items such as books, toys, appliances, computers, electronics, clothing, and more.