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How to Figure Out What to Sell on eBay

Published at Dec 21, 2015.

Once you’ve learned everything about selling on eBay for beginners and how to start making money there, there’s just one challenge left to building a profitable business: figuring out what to sell on eBay.

First, you need to know . . .

What to Avoid Selling on eBay

When many eBay sellers begin, they look at eBay’s recommendations or their lists of the hottest-selling items. You may occasionally find something worth selling on these pages. But for most beginners, they’re traps.

Take a look at the screenshot below. These are the first items that appeared on eBay’s “Items in Demand” list on December 16, 2015:

What’s Selling on eBay

That’s a whole lot of expensive, brand-name electronics. And items like these are always at the top of the list. So let’s go buy some of these and resell them on eBay, right?

New Brand-Name Electronics

Very, very wrong. Brands like Apple and Sony haven’t created the mystique surrounding products like the iPhone or PlayStation by letting any yahoo off the street resell them for cut rates on eBay. They manage distribution with an iron fist.

It is impossible to sell most new electronic products for a profit on eBay because you’ll never find someone selling them for a low enough price. Any “wholesaler” offering these products at a price an eBay seller could afford is almost certainly a crook; they either stole the products or, more likely, they don’t even have any. They’ll disappear as soon as they take your money.

Other Hot Items

You may have more success with other items on the lists. However, the competition will be steep—you will have to face down both the established sellers who made it a top-selling item and the swarm of newbies with the same idea. You should only try this if you’re an experienced eBay seller and know a lot about the product.

The Science of Figuring Out What to Sell on eBay: Doing Your Research

Researching What to Sell on eBay

There are no products that are always profitable on eBay. Neither is there a list of items that are always smart choices for beginners—anything that’s worth selling today may not be worth it tomorrow.

The Free Way to Find Things Worth Selling

We covered the process of identifying and sourcing profitable products in "How to Start Making Money Selling on eBay." That’s probably the slowest way to find something worth selling, but it’s free.

The Fast Way to Find Profitable Products

If you’re willing to spend money to make money, you can try Terapeak. It’s an extremely powerful eBay/Amazon research tool and can even help with product sourcing. The plans are quite affordable, too.

The Shortcut to Learning What Works

Beyond that, it’s really just a question of what you know. When you understand a lot about a particular type of product—a niche—finding stuff worth selling becomes much easier.

For example, our company deals strictly in car parts on eBay. Because that’s all we sell, we’ve been able to learn what parts sell and which don’t. We know how much our customers will pay for a given product and how much we can afford to pay for something we’re going to sell. As such, we’ve been able to build a profitable business.

That’s why our best advice to you is to learn . . .

The Art of Figuring Out What You’ll Sell on eBay: Finding and Knowing Your Niche

Fishing Niche Products

Ask yourself: What types of products do I spend the most money on? Clothes? Fishing gear? Makeup? Board games?

The best way to figure out what you’ll sell on eBay is to become a master of a particular type of product. This gives you a chance to really understand a niche market.

Reasons to Choose a Niche

Let’s say you do a lot of fishing, so you choose fishing gear. You know how much people will pay for lures, rods, reels, hooks, lines and sinkers because you pay for that stuff all the time. You know that many anglers will gladly pay extra for genuine Rapala lures and other big-name brands. And if you’ve learned from the old-timers, you might know about a few out-of-production products that would fetch top dollar in an auction.

Developing this kind of in-depth knowledge saves you an enormous amount of time on market research. You won’t have to do a bunch of math to figure out if something’s a good deal. You’ll see a wholesaler’s price and think Hot damn, that’s a fifth of what I’d pay!

Focusing on a niche also cuts down on your trial and error. You’ll learn what sells and what doesn’t sell until that too becomes instinct.

Finally, you’ll know exactly what products go together, and selling pre-made kits can make you a lot of money on eBay. For example, if you know a lot about makeup, you know what colors work well for certain complexions and eye colors. You could put together a package of different products catering to women with fair skin and green eyes, and another for women with dark skin and brown eyes. This saves the buyer a lot of shopping around.

In Summary

If you combine the art and science of figuring out what to sell on eBay, you should have no trouble making enough profits to keep your business afloat indefinitely. Master them both and you will have a steady stream of income—perhaps even a full-time job.

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