How to sell on ebay

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Well, you have the choice of:

1. The "quick kill" product (for example a toy or electronic gadget that has gained popularity in America and hits record sales towards Christmas).

2. The consumable that everyone needs and will continue to need (ink cartridges, packaging, stationery, blank CDs).

3. The regular high-value item that people will replace every 3 or 4 years (computer, printer, TV, DVD player).

4. The unique product that people don't know they need until they see it (iPod was a good example of this but don't even think about selling them - think "unique" instead).

If you choose category 1 items, you won't have continuity. It means that you have to repeat your market research on a continuous basis for high, short-term rewards. Try the other categories, instead, but look for an area where competition is low or non-existent.

That's the best advice I can give without going into specifics.

"At the moment I am selling on the internet with a very small business selling cdr media dvdr media, cd cases dvd cases. At the moment I am making very minimal profit but kind of acceptable. The problem I have is getting to the core of the wholesalers, the reason I am posting this is I am looking for advice and knowledge.

I have been thinking about setting up a proper company and holding stock as in 1000s of cdrs dvdrs cases etc. Selling on markets is another idea, ebay and the net. I am very confident that there is profit in this industrty. Does anyone know of the wholesalers and can any traders give me some serious advice?"

Most people have this problem because they don't want to buy in wholesale quantities. If you contact a manufacturer and say "I'd like to buy 100,000 packs of 25 CD-R discs and here's my cheque" you'll get the same discount that Staples, Makro and Morrisons get. (Actually, not very much but they sell HUGE numbers). If you want to buy 10 then it ain't gonna happen.

If you could somehow promise to sell 100,000 packs in a year and afford to pay for them, then you could negotiate "retrospective discount" increasing on a monthly basis as you sold LOTS. But the truth of the matter is that you can't (and nor could I).

It's generally the case that we make our profit on "added value". Selling blank CDs is frankly a waste of energy. You might buy at 40p and sell at 50p but the profit over a year is tiny because you can't shift huge quantities.

But if you buy a blank CD for 50p, put software or information on it, and sell at £50 - there's your way to riches!

Start looking for that "added value".

Think of this:

You take a common, mass-produced item that you can buy for pennies and sell it for double (or more) FOR A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PURPOSE.

One rather trivial example is to buy "DVD cases" and sell them with CDs in them.

Here's one of my own.

OK, what you see is a rubber insulating boot used for spark plug connection in all petrol engines. Care to figure out how many are manufactured each day at an average of 4 per car? OK, it's more than thousands. So they are cheap. But what can you use it for?

Click on this link.

As far as I can tell, I'm the ONLY person selling these things for weatherproofing satellite dish connections. I buy em for 19p each and sell them between 65p and £1.25. You can't buy them in the shops (unless you buy a complete set of spark plug leads).

It has taken me three months to locate the wholesale supplier of these things - I'm not particularly proud of that because I had the catalogue all along! But, if I had problems locating them, that's GOOD NEWS!


Well, assuming anybody else had the same idea, they'd have the same problem in finding the supplier. In effect, even if somebody decides to copy my idea right now, I've probably got a 3 month head start.

So go and do thou likewise. Look around at common objects and think what other use you can sell them for at a higher price. (I've got more ideas but I'm not going to divulge them till I'm already marketing them).

One thing I've done before that was along these lines was to bulk buy clear plastic keyrings and fridge magnets and then insert popular pictures (which weren't copyrighted) and sell them to the niche concerned.

When you think about it there are LOTS of ways to do things like this.

"Could anyone point me in the right direction for buying things that are good sellers on eBay. A lot of things I see in the wholesaler lists are already selling cheaper on eBay. I am new to this and I am a pensioner so not too much money to waste on trial and error. Anyone got products that sell? Recommendations needed."

Sell things that interest you and that you know about and will make a good profit. It's pointless to sell something that "sells well" and makes minimal profit.

Example: My neighbour is retired. He goes to the local auction once a week, buys up antiques - especially pottery because we're near Stoke-on-Trent - and spends the rest of the week selling to rich Americans on

I'm not saying copy his idea. I'm saying "each to his own". Decide on your interest or learn about something new then use your knowledge to sell related items.

If you absolutely MUST sell DVDs, look for a niche item. For example, at Christmas everyone wants to watch that old favourite "It's a Wonderful Life", and, guess what? It's copyright free! So you can copy it onto a blank DVD disc and sell it on eBay for 300% profit - for about 3 days until someone else copies you.

I would avoid selling anything you can easily find on the High Street because you will struggle to match their prices. Many people come along and try to undercut these big players but soon find it's not much fun working all the hours for little profit.

Is there anything you are enthusiastic about? What are your hobbies? Is there something you can sell that will benefit your family in any way? What products do you always find difficult to find in town? If you are selling on ebay it's got to be cost effective to post the items.

And remember that all new inventions start somewhere! Just don't lose sight of whether your ideas are financially viable in the middle of your enthusiasm.

"I am looking for a niche that I can get a foothold on and get into a new product. I was thinking in going into bluetooth headsets etc, would that be a good niche to go into?"

A search on eBay for "bluetooth headset" gets over a THOUSAND results. Why would you want to try to compete with that?

"I have found one or two wholesalers but I tend to find going down the wholesaler route a complete waste of time. ( As an example, I registered for a trade account with a UK company selling watches. When he gave me his wholesale price list, I had a look on Ebay and found the exact same models of watch at half the price again !! )"

You are completely crazy. A search on Ebay for "designer watches" got over TWELVE HUNDRED hits! What's the point in trying to compete? Even if you get your buying price down to something reasonable you are going to be on very tight margins - assuming anyone notices your ad amongst the other 1200.

"I am looking to get in to importing goods from abroad and selling them but whould like to know if you have any tips. Also please can you tell me if there is any profit to be made in selling umbrellas and were could I source them from?"

You can buy umbrellas for as little as £3 and they are available everywhere - outdoor markets, indoor markets, supermarkets - even some corner shops. However, I think there's a niche market for a better quality umbrella with a specific design and colour. Women like the colour to match their clothes. Men tend to prefer black umbrellas but there are some extroverts who might like a T-shirt sort of logo printed around the perimeter. This comes under the heading "added value".

"I started out on eBay by selling some used computer hardware I had lying around the house. Been trying to find a supplier for amd 64 bit processors. Problem is most of the wholesalers charge more than what I can buy it for on newegg( by the way I am in the United States). I would import, if I could find a supplier anywhere who could supply at right price without expecting me to order 1000 or more pieces at a time. This is just a sideline business right now, I do not have that kind of capital. Any suggestions?"

I am afraid that my advice would be to find something else to sell. The profit margins on computer hardware are tiny and if you are trying to compete in the largest marketplace in the world, eBay, then you need to be buying in sufficient bulk to get the best discounts (as you have found).

If you can't do this, then I wouldn't waste any more time trying to find something that doesn't exist - move onto something else - there are hundreds of other products that are far more profitable than hardware.

The only way I can see to make any real money is to add value.

Instead of trying to compete with Best Buy and the other huge retailers why not sell a system including delivery and set up.

In the run up to Christmas this could be a winner. Rather than people just buying a load of boxes they are buying a ready installed system.

You deliver it, set it up (including anti virus and firewall), and check they are happy with it. As well as earning a premium form them you can leave your business card and hopefully their friends will like it so much they will buy one from you.

Advertise locally in free papers or magazines and possibly aim at a specific market, (Silver surfers?)

If I lived in the USA I would be buying and selling used Macs. People expect to pay a premium for Apple products and they are reliable, easy to set up, and don't need any "antivirus" software. You can increase the perceived value by including a load of shareware and freeware (I can give suggestions if anyone is interested).

This is like the difference between selling new Daewoo cars and second-hand Mercedes, Jaguar, BMW. The profit margin on the latter is much higher.

Sell the computer with a "free" (for the first 12 months) web site, forum, email addresses etc. which you can get in the "Easy1" package for just £22 from:

The iMac is very small:

It's not expandable so you get what you get. But it's an eye-catcher and fun to use. Another possibility is an iBook that you can slot away on a bookshelf when it's not in use.

Or the Mac Mini which has a desktop footprint of just 2" x 6.5".

There are thousands of books telling us how simple it is to make a living online and it's easy to become discouraged when nothing seems to work. You really need to concentrate on just one product which will sell continually.

The first thing to do is to decide on a product that you can obtain easily now and in the foreseeable future. Initially it needs to be something cheap with a big profit margin. An eBook is ideal but, unless you write it yourself or get exclusive selling rights, you'll be competing against everyone else. So you need to look for something that you can buy for peanuts and sell for at least three times peanuts. You HAVE to keep looking, that's the key. Until you find your niche product, you won't achieve anything.

My advice to you is to leave the computer and just wander around all your local shops and warehouses for a week. See what's on offer. See what people are buying.