1. Thorough market research is the foundation for success
Meticulous market research doubles your chances of making a tidy profit from the wholesale goods you buy. Start off with a list of 5-10 different ideas. Then check completed listings searches on eBay to see what the item generally sells for and the sell-through rate for each one. Use Yahoo's free keyword tool http://inventory.overture.com to find out how many people are searching Yahoo for your product per month. You can double this figure for Google. Add the numbers together. If there are ten thousand or more searches per month for an item, this indicates a healthy market.
2. Calculate the REAL cost of your item
One big reason why people fail at the wholesale game is that they don't do the numbers. In other words, they don't treat wholesale like a real business. To accurately discover your true profit potential on an item, you need to add the shipping cost and insurance, eBay fees (or equivalent for other advertising), Paypal and/or credit card fees (these can be a real profit killer), packaging costs and labor involved packaging, and any storage costs to the cost of your item.
Getting caught out by scammers is a common stumbling block for people new to wholesale. If you are searching for suppliers off your own bat (rather than using a wholesale directory like SaleHoo), it is CRITICAL to check authenticity before making a purchase.
Always take the time to:
Check that the website gives a full business name and a registration
Check for a legitimate contact telephone number - this will involve ringing the number. Do not accept a mobile phone number alone. All real companies should have a land line number.
Go to http://www.whois.sc/ and search for the name of the website. A legitimate company will have a domain expiration date in several years time. Most legitimate companies reserve their domain names for 3-5 years or more at a time.
AVOID suppliers who won't agree to use secure payment methods such as Escrow.com, Credit Card and Paypal Verified.
Still uncertain? Ask other sellers what their experiences have been with the company you are interested in on eBay forums.
4. Chinese suppliers give the competitive edge
Chinese suppliers are an essential source for anyone wishing to make money selling online. Manufacturing costs are currently extremely low in China, thus it is the secret to gaining a competitive edge. Dealing with China does have risks, but these can be alleviated if you place a small order first, use secure payment methods, get shipping insurance for 110% of the cost of the items, and use suppliers with a good reputation.
5. A common stumbling block for liquidation and closeout
Always obtain the reasons for liquidation and closeout sales before you buy. Liquidation and Closeout sales can be a fantastic source for cheap products, but you usually have to buy by the pallet load and these can sometimes include broken or returned goods that aren't in saleable condition. To be safe, ask specifically whether broken items and returns are included before you buy.
6. Negotiate on shipping and save
Shipping economically is critical to importing success. Profits can easily get swamped in shipping costs, so take time to get a good deal on shipping. If possible, negotiate CIF (Cost, Insurance & Freight) or DDP (Delivery, duty paid) shipping terms with your supplier as this takes much of the risk - not to mention organization - off your shoulders. FOB (Freight on Board) is the most common shipping term, but don't be afraid to negotiate for better.
7. Drop shipping - can you really afford it?
Drop shipping sounds great in theory - someone taking care of packaging, wrapping and postage - but it can be difficult to profit from this method. Think about it, drop shipping can add another $2-10 to your costs - sometimes even 10% of the cost of the item. By the time you add in eBay fees and any other costs, you may find it is not worth it.
8. Warehouse storage checklist
Asset management is the most important consideration when locating warehousing to store your items. Believe it or not, items can go missing while in storage, causing massive disruption for you. When comparing warehouses, ask questions specifically on how you will authorize the release of stock (by phone or fax?), what will happen if you need to cancel an order, frequency of damage claims, dust management, and whether there is an area you can use to photograph items.
9. Powerseller wealth
It's a fact - eBay powersellers are able to command higher prices for their items than ordinary eBay sellers. To get the best profits on your wholesale items, you need to aim to get and maintain powerseller status.
10. Growth with a website and eBay store
The way to increase profits from wholesale is to build your own website and/or open an eBay store. This allows you to cross sell items plus it also makes it easier for people to find what they are looking for. For example, if you sell shoes, then customers can easily navigate to browse all black shoes in size 9 and so on. Always include a sentence at the bottom of your descriptions encouraging visitors to check out your other listings - most people will.
If you are looking for genuine and trusted wholesale suppliers then look no further than Salehoo! SaleHoo's directory contains over 4000 dropship wholesale and closeout suppliers that are independently reviewed and rated by eBay Powersellers and Industry experts. SaleHoo also purchases off them and reviews each supplier in depth afterwards.
About the Author: SaleHoo is one of the fastest growing product sourcing portals on the internet. It contains a database of drop ship, wholesale, closeout and manufacturing suppliers offering thousands of product suppliers to consumers! Located at http://jasonorban.salehoo.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=DROPLIST visitors are allowed to sign up for unlimited and lifetime access to the completely searchable database of products and suppliers. The database is regularly updated, ensuring that the latest retail products are always available for purchase and SaleHoo carries the BBB Reliability Seal!
If you're anything like me, once you have a good idea you want to put it into action immediately! Although you probably know in theory that any business takes 12-18 months to become established, somehow you still hope that you can get there in 2!
But, one mistake entrepreneurs consistently make is to throw their life's savings into buying case loads of stock - before they even know how eBay works. It's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security on eBay after buying just one or two items. For buyers, eBay is meant to be user friendly. For sellers, things are a little more complicated. All powersellers agree that there are new things to be learned all the time and you'll be surprised at how much more you know after several months selling small, inexpensive items.
Be prepared to spend the first couple of months buying and selling a variety of inexpensive items you can purchase with your loose change. Keep track of what sells best and work on narrowing down the possibilities to a few strong products. By this stage you will also have experienced the best and worst situations eBay has to offer, so you will be much better prepared to crank things up a notch.
2. Respond to questions as quickly as possible
Most people use the Internet because it provides what they need instantaneously: information, contacts, gifts, advice, and so on. Therefore I can't emphasize enough the importance of checking your emails as often as you can and replying to queries as quickly as possible.
3. Organize your time and keep to a schedule
If you are holding down a full-time job and working after hours to get your ebay business in motion, then it's vital to have a list of what you need to get done and stick to it so you make the most of the precious time available. Once you are working on eBay fulltime, this becomes even more important! It's all too easy to reach the end of another day and find that you have got hardly anything done. So keep a planner or diary and make a timetable of what needs to be done and when.
4. Do take professional photographs from the beginning
The old saying remains as true as ever: A picture speaks a thousand words. A bad picture can look unappealing and unprofessional. Plus, if the buyer can't really see the item properly, they may be put off bidding because they can't tell if it is what they really want. So right from the beginning, work on creating the most professional pictures you can, even if it means spending money on a photo tent and better lighting.
5. Don't put all your eggs in one basket - use other ways of selling apart from eBay
eBay is not the be all and end all of selling online - although it is one of the best ways to start. As soon as you can though, try thinking of other ways you can increase your web presence. Perhaps you could place a classified ad in Yahoo or write about your auctions in a MySpace blog. There are plenty of cheap and easy ways to build up your profile.
6. Do keep a constant look out for other products to sell, while also monitoring carefully what you are already selling.
Don't become complacent! Even if your items appear to be stock standard - such as chairs for instance - make sure you keep looking at what other sellers are doing, emerging trends, magazine articles, home decor programs, and more. There may be another related product opportunity just waiting to happen that you completely overlook if you keep your blinkers on.
7. Do keep in contact with your wholesale supplier regularly to ensure you are aware of any stock issues.
A backorder can create a lot of extra work for you soothing customer's ruffled feathers. And if they want their order refunded, it costs you money too. So make life easier for yourself by regularly touching base with your suppliers and ensuring communication lines stay open.
8. Do carry out regular keyword and market research
Keyword research is the way to ensure your potential customers find you successfully. Set aside some time each day for marketing and research to ensure that you're keeping at the top of your game.
9. Do use software to help organize your sales
It's hard to part with the initial investment when the business is still finding its feet, but the right software will make life so much easier. My eBay quickly becomes unwieldy when you are selling more than 15 items, and software ensures that you avoid making costly mistakes, such as under-ordering stock, forgetting to ship to a customer, and so on.
10. Don't offer free shipping as a gimmick unless you can afford it
Free shipping is a very effective way of attracting more people to your listings. However, before you consider offering free shipping, think carefully about your profit margins, how much your item weighs, and the fact that shipping will vary depending on how far away you are sending it. Offering free shipping is a good move if you can absorb the cost in your profit margin, but it could easily become crippling if you apply it to a variety of items of different shapes and sizes.
About the Author: SaleHoo is one of the fastest growing product sourcing portals on the internet. It contains a database of drop ship, wholesale, closeout and manufacturing suppliers offering thousands of product suppliers to consumers! Located at http://www.salehoo.com, visitors are allowed to sign up for unlimited and lifetime access to the completely searchable database of products and suppliers. The database is regularly updated, ensuring that the latest retail products are always available for purchase and SaleHoo carries the BBB Reliability Seal!
It sounds like a great idea - after all, everyone likes a bargain don't they? But items that sell for under $10 have one big problem: Shipping. It's quite likely that the shipping for the item will cost more than the item itself and this can be very off-putting to buyers. For example, if the item costs $4.50 and shipping costs $6, the total cost for the item is $10.50. If the buyer can purchase the item at their local store for $8, then this suddenly becomes a much better deal. For small items and accessories, the way to get around this problem is by grouping the items together, such as sets of 6 golf-balls or 5 tea towels.
2. Products everyone else are selling
Many sellers think that the best way to get started on eBay is to sell items that everyone else is selling. Surely those super hot items such as ipods, cell phones, psps and so on will be a quick route to riches? Well, no. The sellers who are already selling these items are not only more established on eBay - and thus familiar to and trusted by buyers - but they will be able to buy wholesale stock in larger bulks lots than you will, so their prices will always be better. Thus it will almost certainly be very difficult for you to make a profit in a market that is already well supplied.
3. Things you love...but no-one else does
Hobbies can be a great way of making money, but only if plenty of other people are interested in them too.
Another scenario is when you find a product that you think is absolutely wonderful and could be the next best thing...but no-one seems interested in buying it. Oh well you think, it's only short term, eventually they'll learn about my item and start flocking to buy it. Ah, no they won't. It's lonely work trying to educate people on the benefits of a product all on your own. As fabulous as the product might be, it's nigh-on impossible to start a trend on your own. To make money from a trend, you need magazines and newspapers, word of mouth and television to do some of the work for you.
4. Difficult items to ship - e.g. fragile china and plants
Now I'm not saying that these are bad items to sell altogether. Many sellers do very well from these items. But I don't suggest you sell such difficult items when you are first starting out. Both these items have an above-average shipping risk, particularly if not packed properly. As a new seller, any negative feedback you receive at this early stage could be especially damaging to your career.
5. Very large items
Thinking of starting with furniture or pianos? Unless you already have experience selling and shipping these items, then it might be wise to start with something smaller. Shipping such large items is a major operation. Not only that, these items will sell less often than mid-priced items as they won't attract the same number of impulse buyers.
About the Author: SaleHoo is one of the fastest growing product sourcing portals on the internet. It contains a database of drop ship, wholesale, closeout and manufacturing suppliers offering thousands of product suppliers to consumers! Located at http://jasonorban.salehoo.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=DROPLIST, visitors are allowed to sign up for unlimited and lifetime access to the completely searchable database of products and suppliers. The database is regularly updated, ensuring that the latest retail products are always available for purchase and SaleHoo carries the BBB Reliability Seal!