Many would-be online merchants have no idea where to begin locating products to resell. Garage sales, estate sales, thrift shops, and consignment stores provide good sources of products. They're especially ideal for beginners because there's little risk or investment involved. Local sourcing affords a simple, inexpensive way to learn the ropes of E-Biz product sourcing, while you gain experience and become comfortable with online retailing.
To get the most out of local sourcing, it helps to observe some proven practices. These following tips will help you derive maximum benefit from your product sourcing trips:
A Piece of the Whole
- Start small. Never spend over $5 on any one item until you've been at it for a while and know what you're doing and what you are looking at. You'll save yourself a lot of money if you set a low limit in the beginning and stick to it.
- Don't hold out for those "once in a lifetime" deals: they're called that for a reason. The big hits are few and far between; you'll make a much better, not to mention steadier, living by selling a large number of ten and twenty dollar items consistently. Be open to a large variety of low- to medium-profit items - these will most likely comprise the bulk of your eBay or discount sales.
- If it will sell, buy it. Selling in a niche is always smart, but don't ignore items you know will turn a good profit just because they're not what you usually put up for sale.
- Make a plan. Your time is far too valuable to wander aimlessly. Open the newspaper the night before you go garage saling, and choose which sales you want to hit. Look for key words and phrases you'd like to target: "Lots of USC Merchandise," "Nike Sample Sale," "Antiques and Collectibles," etc.
- When you're shopping, turn the items over. Keep a special watch for the following, as they tend to sell well on eBay & other platforms:
- Name brands
- Signed items
- Goods made in the U.S., Europe, or Japan
- Goods mint in the box, or mint with tags
- Unique, unusual items
- Items that remind you of your childhood
- Items from the Baby Boomer era (c. 1947 to 1969), such as super sleek mod plastic, vases, glassware, etc.
- Things from the 70s or 80s, like yellow smiley faces or rainbows
- When negotiating prices, ALWAYS wait for the seller to offer a figure first. It's a very old negotiating technique that still produces wonderful results: Whoever names the price first, loses. Don't get impatient and blurt out a number. Insist they suggest a figure - very often, they'll go even lower than what you would have offered. So hold yourself in check - it will pay off.
Even as your online business grows and you begin using renewable sources, like drop shippers and light-bulk wholesalers, local sourcing can still provide an excellent supplement to your regular product line-up with unique and interesting pieces. As your business expands, you can combine this style of sourcing with other methods. Whether you're a beginner, or a seasoned seller looking to add some diversity to your inventory, it's always fun because you never know what you're going to find.