Sunday, January 16, 2011

What to Sell & Where to Find It

I'm often asked where I find items to sell.  The answer to this question is ever changing especially with more and more people selling on eBay.  Competition is tough and it's important to think outside the box when purchasing inventory. Research is key so I'm constantly searching eBay to see what is selling right now.

When I started selling most of my inventory came right out of my house.  If you are new to selling, you should first look around for unwanted clutter to sell rather then spend money on inventory. For beginners, it's better to learn the eBay ropes on stuff that you don't want.  It takes some practice to find out what works for you when selling, so practice your listings and techniques on items that you're not spending additional money to acquire. Doing this also helps you to learn what you do and don't like to sell.

My current popular places to obtain inventory are thrift stores, Craigslist and yard sales. I am fortunate to live in an area that has great thrift stores I can visit in the winter and tons of yard sales in the spring and summer.  However, competition has been getting tougher every year. More people are shopping at yard sales and thrift stores; in addition more people are turning to eBay to sell stuff instead of donating it or having a yard sale!

So what do you do when you don't have great thrift stores or yard sales or they good stuff is gone by the time you arrive?  Well then thinking outside the box is super important.

Check your local stores for out-of-the-ordinary items. Discontinued health and beauty products can bring big money.  Recently Pantene Shampoo discontinued some of their products.  On January 12th a lot of 6 bottles of Silver Expressions sold for $174!
If you see this shampoo, buy all of it!

Several different Pantene shampoos are selling on eBay; they include the Pro V Smooth, Clarifying Shampoo, Anti-Dandruff 2 in 1 and others.  Check your local stores to see if they have any in stock. You can also ask your hair stylist if any professional products are being discontinued.  People get very attached to heath and beauty products that they love and will pay a lot of money for them if they know the product is no longer available in stores.
While we are on the subject, don't over look the health and beauty section of your thrift stores!  Last year I bought a bottle of vintage perfume for $2.97.  I had never heard of it but it looked interesting so I bought it.  I was willing to gamble $3 and it sure paid off.... it sold for $249!   Check out the prices that sellers got for some vintage perfume and cologne.  Remember, as people move into retirement homes or become deceased, family members have the overwhelming job of cleaning out the house.  Many people have no idea that old perfumes have value and they just donate them to a thrift store.

Just note that you can sell used perfume on eBay but not used make-up.  Before buying make-up at a thrift store or yard sale, make sure that it is unused.  It doesn't have to be in the box either.

Did you know that eBay has a Food and Wine category? Well they do and food actually sells on eBay!   Limited Editions of food items such as candy are hot sellers.  Recent sales show that someone paid $39.99 for 8 bags of Candy Cane flavor Hershey Kisses AFTER Christmas. They were on clearance at many stores, so this is a nice profit.  Trader Joe's Candy Cane Green Tea is selling right now too.

Even standard candy bars can sell for a profit. Keep in mind that some foods are not available in all areas. Here in the Philadelphia area, Tastykakes are everywhere but if someone has moved out of state or out of the country, they probably can't get their favorite Kandy Kakes unless they buy them on eBay!

Food and merchandise coupons also sell on eBay. Baby formula checks...well check it out! They can bring close to face value.

Finally, store clearance sales are the key for many successful sellers.  Clothing, holiday items, toys and household goods are just a few of the items that are currently deeply discounted to make room for the spring merchandise that will soon stock the shelves.  You can even find online clearance bargains without leaving your home!

So look around with a keen eye. Before you donate or toss out something, check to see what it might bring on eBay. One of the strangest things that I've sold on eBay was an empty box for $15.

I've said it before; you can sell almost anything on eBay!

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