What to Sell on eBay

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What to sell on eBay is normally the first question which comes up for most people who are looking at building an eBay business. The first step is to narrow down exactly which methodology would suit you.

First of all to make money on eBay, like most product-based businesses requires buying and selling products, that is of course unless you make the products yourself.

Do you have any cash to invest in purchasing products? If you don’t it does not matter as I will show you there are different methodologies for building eBay businesses using virtually no money.

The next question to ask is what methodology do you want to use for product sourcing? Do you want to sell new or used items? Here are a few of the most popular methodologies for product sourcing.

  • Source used items from places like garage sales, thrift shops, estate sales etc
  • Purchase poorly listed used items on eBay and resell them on eBay
  • Purchase items on sites like Gumtree and Amazon and then resell on eBay
  • Imports items from countries like China?
  • Dropship from local suppliers?

All methodologies have their best pros and cons.

We operate five different eBay businesses with importing being our preference.  With importing we find higher profits and also find it the easiest to automate, however we also buy and sell poorly listed items and we also dropship.

Many new eBay sellers start off selling used items then move onto drop shipping before finally moving on to importing.

The advantages of drop shipping are many as the drop shipping methodology requires no cash as you are paid before purchasing the items. Other advantages are that you do not need to hold any stock, you do not need to wrap items, drive to the post office etc. You also do not need to handle warranty issues as you can return items back to the supplier.

Another big advantage of a dropship business is anybody can start listing items on eBay immediately and can get their first sale today. They can also build a very large business using virtually no money.

The downside of drop shipping is the risk of overselling. By that I mean selling an item on eBay only to find the supplier has sold out. Luckily there are steps which can be put in place to help reduce this happening.

The big advantage of selling new products whether importing direct or drop shipping is you can sell the same item over and over. That means you only have to photograph items once and list them once and that same item can potentially sell thousands of times.

The downside of importing is the cost to purchase the items and the upside of importing is the higher profits by buying direct therefore cutting out all the middlemen.

The upside of sourcing used items is you can accumulate them quickly simply by driving to an estate sale, garage sale or a thrift shop this very week to source and purchase your items. The downside is you have to keep driving to and fro to source items and… you have to photograph and list each item individually.

The upside of purchasing poorly listed items on eBay, gumtree and other sites is you can do it in the comfort of your own home. The downside as with all used items, is you have to again photograph and list this one individual item. For this reason is much harder to automate any eBay business which sells used items.

If you are looking at making eBay a full time business and try to decide what to sell on eBay, first choose which methodology suits you, however don’t forget you can have multiple eBay accounts using more than one methodology. You aren’t limited to just one methodology.

Today with the ability to outsource labour so easily and cheaply, it has never been so easy to run multiple eBay businesses from the comfort of your own home.

To your success
neil waterhouse
Neil Waterhouse

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5 Responses to What to Sell on eBay

  1. Ibrahim Dan Halilu says:

    Thanks for this detailed explanation on product sourcing for an ebay business. My challenge as someone wishing to start an ebay business is I don’t know how I can deliver goods to buyers since I leave outside of the U.S. or any country that has ebay stores. Can I source for a drop shipper in the U.S or U.K. to ship the goods to buyers after receiving payment?

  2. Ibrahim Dan Halilu says:

    Hello Neil!
    I bought your book from Amazon early last year hoping to start an ebay business from Nigeria. I’m still stuck because I don’t know how to begin after opening an ebay account. My main challenge is sourcing products and how to ship them to customers when they pay since I leave outside of the U.S. Please I need your advise. I want to start early this year!

  3. Eva Hughes says:

    Hi Neil

    I receive emails with numerous new items at cheap prices I’m sure there are limited numbers you can purchase, are these worth purchasing to re-sell at a slightly higher price.


    • Hi Eva,

      You need to research how much these items are already selling for on eBay versus how much you can buy them for.

      You also need to research how often the items are selling on eBay i.e. how many times per month to they sell.

  4. Neil says:

    Thanks Neil, for another set of very useful tips. How do I separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to drop-shippers? I know not to have to pay a subscription fee for the service, but what other things do I look for?

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