So you are looking for things to sell on eBay and you want to be a successful eBay entrepreneur? You’re not greedy, you just want to make a living. If that’s the case, you need to approach the process of deciding what to sell as though it really matters, and not just throw yourself in haphazardly. Anyone can sell on eBay but to be successful, you need to think about what you’re doing, get some research under your belt and plan, plan, plan. In this blog post, we’re going to offer you some tips, and make some suggestions about what you can sell.
The key to successful selling on eBay is to select items that people really want – the items they are searching for – and this is not necessarily the same as items that are incredibly popular and that everyone has already bought. While buyers do want Apple products for example, the market is saturated. Just do a search and you’ll see what I mean. Thousands of people want to offload their old iPhone at any one time, so it’s a tough market for the seller.
Meanwhile, if you’re selling accessories – you’ll see that cheap imports from China totally flood eBay, and that means your profit margins will be well below what you might be hoping for. If you’re making really minimal profit, but you still have to do all the listing and packing and organising delivery etc., is your profit really worth it?
Finding out what is popular in 2017
A good way to find out what is popular at any one time is to go to Amazon and do a simple search – in the search bar. Start typing best sellers and the drop down menu offer you a whole host of options. I typed in ‘Best sellers in all departments’ and was quite surprised by what was selling well. I was almost tempted to buy some of them myself, and then remembered what I was there for.
Visiting a trade fair will show you what trends the big suppliers are anticipating in the coming season, and you may be able to get some good deals too. Check out our Trade Fairs post here. Don’t fret about being small fry in a big business game, this won’t be the case at all. There are many suppliers out there with minimum orders of £100 or £150, so you can test the water so to speak. The advantage of sourcing suppliers in the UK this way is that you can buy a variety of products – or the same product but in a variety of colours and sizes in fairly minimal quantities – if this is what you want to do. This will really appeal to those of you running a small business from home.
You may never have noticed this before but Google have a useful search options for trends. Type Google trends into the search bar, or Google Trends UK and you’ll get a homepage showing you what people have been searching for recently. This will mainly be global news stories, celebrities and TV news etc.
But you can also use Google Trends to see the popularity of a product. Type the name of the product into the Google Trends search bar and you will have a graph. Drop down menus above the graph allow you to search in certain parts of the world or worldwide. In the image above I’ve searched for ‘Shopkin Trucks’ because in an article from the Daily Mirror in early November 2016, Toys ‘R’ Us reckoned these were a good Christmas bet for 2016. The graph shows interest peaked in early November, which suggests it is not a viral product, although the graph shows interest is on the rise again.
Ideally you want to be selling products as they increase in popularity not as they’re on a downward spiral, so use Google Trends to see how many internet searches there have been recently.Here’s another interesting search I ran. Amazon best sellers is showing adult colouring books as figuring highly in its best sellers. Google trends show that the general trend for searches for adult colouring books is down on the 12 months previously. Now this may be because adult colouring books are everywhere now, and very easy to get hold of in many discount outlets, or it may be that there is a lack of interest in them now. Tastes move on. Either way, adult colouring books may not be the market you want to move into at the moment.
Common sense comes into picking products to sell on eBay a lot. If your buyers can purchase items easily with their weekly shop they will do. If they can’t, they’ll go online. It pays you to take the time to think about what is easily available and what isn’t.
Supply of your products
Other places to search for popular items to sell on eBay is on popular Chinese retail websites that wholesale. Alibaba.com is probably the most popular but you can also try Deal Extreme, DH Gate, Focal Price, Fasttech and Ali Express. You will get some great deals and you will have cut out the middle man or woman, so that can be an advantage on trade fairs. HOWEVER – you will have to buy minimum quantities (usually 100) and you may have to buy items in large batches, regardless of size or colour. You’ll need a bigger budget and you’ll need to ensure you have the room to store your stock that is both safe and dry.
Speaking of storage – be sensible with what you’re aiming to source, when and why. No point in ordering several hundred woolly hats from Nepal in March if you’re unlikely to sell them till September really, is there? Every few years you’ll see big fashion brands struggling to sell coats in the UK because the winter is ‘unseasonably mild’. That’s a lot of stock you have to get rid of.
If you don’t have the confidence yet to approach a Chinese wholesaler, not a problem. Get hold of some bankrupt stock from someone like … us! Wholesale Clearance UK have some of the best deals on the internet, and check out The Wholesale Forums for more advice too.
On the whole you want to steer clear of branded items – especially if you’re ordering from China because you’re liable to end up with fake goods. If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is. People who want to buy a specific brand will largely go straight to the source. HOWEVER if you want smaller quantities of branded items, again, it’s worth checking us out here at Wholesale Clearance UK, because we get in lots of great items when retailers go bankrupt.
Toys and stuffed animals. It’s all about kids these days. You can make a killing on eBay if you have the right products at the right time. Keep your ear to the ground so that you know what kids are going crazy for right now! Soft toys, dolls, puzzles and instruments will always sell well.Disney and other popular children’s brands. High Street Musical is one of the most searched items on eBay in recent years and Disney always performs well. The current trends on eBay.com include Spiderman and WWF, so it looks like being a superhero summer!
Electronics. Electronics are ever popular on eBay because customers can search many similar items, spend time comparing them and bid on the best bargains. The top ten searches within electronics tend to be to do with gaming consoles and game software, but cameras, mobiles, and printers are also up there. The potential mark up on these is great, so if you spot a good wholesale deal, snap it up!
Clothing. Always popular. Customers are looking for decent clothing at a cheaper price than they can find on the High Street. They don’t want to pay parking costs, or £4 for a cup of coffee, and they like to try things on in the comfort of their own homes. Offer no quibble refunds to draw your customers in.
Sports goods. Again, the current vogue to wear sports clothing as leisure wear means that sports shops are doing pretty well. However you will need to offer good quality clothing at an attractive price in order to attract some attention from potential buyers. Nike sportswear and other recognisable brands do really well.Handbags and accessories. In a time of recession people cut down on anything that isn’t a necessity. This can inevitably lead to a dip in sales of many items but accessories and handbags, priced to sell, will always do well, because they seem like an affordable treat to female customers. Women love to shop, so something they can afford as a little extra during tough economic times has an inevitable appeal. Small items such as nail varnish do really well on eBay.
Jewellery. The demand for jewellery on eBay never fluctuates although tastes come and go. Currently people are searching for tanzanite rings and vintage effect jewellery, so buy into this trend if you want to go for something sparkly.
Absolutely anything designer. It’s a crazy world, but if you have items that are branded or designer led then they are much more likely to sell.
Pet supplies. The British are potty about their pets and this is reflected in a booming pet supply industry. You can sell food, collars, bowls, beds, clothing, and bow ties, anything you like. People will buy it for Fido and Fee Fee.
Just one last point to consider. In a recession, it’s less about selling what people want and more about selling people what they need. If you do have items classed as non-necessities sell people what they desire at a price that is attractive to them. For example, toothbrushes are doing really well on eBay at the moment. Customers can pick them up at the supermarket however, so what can you cut your margin to in order to sell them quickly and still make a profit? Sell smart!