Wheeling and dealing is making a comeback, though most of the wheeling is done from the comfort of your own home or office and all the dealing is handled by some sophisticated online systems. The buy-and-sell economy of the internet has eclipsed the physical retail world and it’s allowing everyone to join in, not just brand names and big chain stores. If you want to get your slice of the online pie, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Know your sources
Perhaps the most obvious place to buy and sell things online is eBay. It will definitely be one of the best places to sell, but when it comes to sourcing goods, it pays to build knowledge of a much more diverse range of online marketplaces. First, you need to build an idea of some of the most profitable goods for buy-and-sell businesses. Video games, toys, rare books, clothing, and sporting equipment are all markets worth considering. But finding individual sources for each kind of item as well as the online marketplaces is the best way to get the deals with the most potential. For instance, for books, besides Amazon, eBay, and similar spots, you should look at Abe Books, Swapbooks, and Used Book Central.
Put the hours in
You’re not going to be able to make a living by only buying and selling every now and then. You need to create a proper home office set-up and create a schedule if you want to make something out of it. Time management and learning to stay on task is one of the most important skills to learn, from learning how to prioritize and set time for different tasks to being able to manage work-life balance without letting one spill into the other too often.
Have a passion for presentation
Getting people to agree to prices that result in profit for you is all about presenting yourself as a professional storefront. Sites like eBay make that a lot easier with plenty of customization available. You can even use an eBay HTML template to launch every item with a ready-made page that adds that professional sheen with little work. Beyond that, it’s about learning how to market items in their own description, capturing the essence of the value that it’s supposed to offer the potential buyer. The visual side matters as much, as well. It might even be worth investing in a little lighting to make sure you always frame the pictures of your products in the most flattering manner possible.
Take inventory management seriously
As your business grows and you’re shifting more volume in and out every week, you’re soon going to learn that your memory and your home enough might not be enough to properly take care of all your inventory. If you have a spare room or a well-insulated garage, you might have enough space, but you should consider when hiring storage might become a necessary expenditure, too. Software to track all your inventory is going to stop you from making mistakes like selling stock you don’t have, as well.
Beyond knowing how to sell, a successful business is all about finding the prices that actually account for the cost not only of the product but all the other expenses as well. Posting and packaging costs and any existing wear and tear or usage of the product will all eat into the profit. But the prices you name have to be informed by the kind of data the buyer could easily find, too. For instance, you should use the advanced listings on eBay and similar sites to see what the product has sold for in the past. It’s important to be able to gauge the potential profitability of an item before you spend the money on getting the inventory.
If you want to make some serious money from online buy-and-sell spots, you have to treat it like a proper business. You won’t profit all that much from a couple items a week. You have to source like a pro, hold inventory like a pro, and sell like a pro.