After clearing out your basement (and your parent’s basement and your neighbor’s basement) most eBay enthusiast’s have an “ah-ha” moment or, more accurately, an “uh-oh” moment. The “uh-oh” happens to us enthusiasts who have uncovered a passion for making money on the internet, acted on that passion by selling everything and anything and sometime thereafter realized WE ARE OUT OF THINGS TO SELL!
My “uh-oh” moment came in glimpses and pieces. I saw it coming about the same time I could finally see the floor of the basement storage room. My eBay inventory was getting thin. It wouldn’t last forever. What was I going to do? I was hooked on the money–I loved watching the numbers climb every week in my seller account–but soon I would run out of cast-offs to sell.
I started staying up late at night and researching eBay and trying to figure out WHERE and HOW the other sellers were getting their inventory. I was CONFUSED–many of these sellers were selling items CHEAPER than the stores! How on earth could they source something and distribute it for less than Wal-Mart? (I later learned that deep pockets and large storage facilities are part of that equation!)
I started buying things at Flea Markets and Thrift Stores to resell. This was a pretty good idea and after a few weeks of studying and paying attention, I got pretty good at knowing how to hunt. I enjoy selling in the unique and collectible category and still do. The CHALLENGE with this category, however, is CONSISTENCY and TIME. I would find ONE great item and make GREAT money but finding that same item again would be a long shot. Some days I would find several great deals and other days, nothing. The challenge in this niche is you are always HUNTING for inventory. It can be a fun, rewarding and profitable business, but it isn’t CONSISTENT and it can take up a lot of TIME.
About this time my husband noticed that our local grocery store was no longer carrying a particular brand of Hamburger Helper that Adrienne, my oldest daughter, really likes. On a lark he decided to look on eBay. He not only found the Hamburger Helper but he found many other food items as well. I decided to check it out.
What I found was that not only Hamburger Helper was selling online, but a lot of other groceries were selling online also! GROCERIES on eBay–I was incredulous! I soon realized that certain items are hard to find worldwide (or even nationwide) and that some folks do not have the ability to get to a store that carries the items they want.
I started listing a variety of groceries and also listed a lot of health and beauty items. All the details of my eBay niche are available in my book Grocery Store Goldmines.
This idea can be twisted and turned in a lot of different ways–just keep in mind when you are at any store that you are potentially around dozens of items that have a market on eBay! Some ways I’ve twisted and turned this idea around during my eBay sourcing:
1.) Investigate “new” products, especially in the health and beauty section. I sold the Jenny Craig diet plan from Sam’s Club when it was first introduced. I had no competition and was able to put a healthy mark up on it for several weeks. Pay attention when there is a “new ” brand of tooth whitener or a “new” type of floss.
2.) Look hard at unusual products–items that you don’t see everywhere but that you can get you hands on easily have potential. We sold a lot of lemon flavored crystal light that we could only find in one store in town. Apparently, that store was the exception and that flavor was very hard to find! You can ask your grocer if he/she knows of any unique items in their store.
3.) Look hard at trendy items–things that correspond to a just released movie or popular TV series. We sold 25 Twilight board games that we got at Walmart for about a $15 markup on each one. These games were only released to Walmart and only released in a limited quantity. They sold like hotcakes right after Twilight was released!
4.) Find discontinued products that are still in stock–you used to be able to search on “wanted to buy” on eBay, but I think that function has been discontinued. A Google search, however, on discontinued products can lead you to lists that manufacturers provide. You will find that buyers who really enjoy these products will often pay a healthy markup and usually will buy all that you have because the items can no longer be found in most places.
5.) See what is already offered on eBay.
If you want to do a random search on which grocery items are currently listed on eBay go to your category options and select “Home and Garden” and then “Inside the Home” and then “Food and Wine” and you will eventually get to a list like this for your browsing pleasure-
Food & Wine
You can make a fortune bringing the everyday items at your local stores to buyers across the world. Keep your eyes open and your mind open and see what you can create!