Whew…this is going to be a long one, but stick with me because I’ve got some good advice for new liquidation buyers. I started emailing back and forth with a reader on June 9th, 2015 – “I purchased your program last week and am now wondering WHERE to start? Help!”
I sent an email replay asking the following questions. The responses are below each question.
Question – What channel will you be using? eBay – Amazon – Flea Market sales – or?
Answer – eBay primarily and secondary would be Amazon and Craigslist (if we are desperate).
Question – Have you purchased liquidations before?
Answer – Yes, recently purchased from B-stock
Question – How much do you have to invest?
Answer – Up to $50k
Question – What type of merchandise are you interested in?
Answer – ANYTHING that is a smokin’ deal. However, in the ideal world, items that don’t take up too much space (500-700 sq. ft.) but I am flexible on this if the deal is a win-win.
Question – How much time can you dedicate per week to the business?
Answer – Minimum 20. Maximum 60.
Further comments from reader: I have purchased from B-Stock and had marginal results with profitability but want to understand the liquidation business more to see what can be done to maximize profits.
After receiving answers back, I emailed: I know you said you’re interested in selling anything to make money, but what I really want to know is…what would you like to sell? (Category of merchandise) – Where’s your passion?
Answer – So, passion, huh? It’s not the object that is being sold but for me it’s the excitement; it’s the thrill of the potential for profit and chasing the lot to get the right price and being able to walk away if not. And I don’t mean gouging a client. I mean providing a product that is reasonably priced to a buyer that wants/needs what I am selling. I’ve sold things such as “TV ears” to vacuums to medical scrubs (which, by the way, bluntly speaking sucked!) and now am presently selling computer printers. There was a couple of those items that I realized that would take some time to make “buyer ready” before selling and the hours invested in doing this was not quite what I would call profitable with respect to man hours. I have the space for pallet shipments and that is not an obstacle. As I am a “typical female” (my feminist daughters would cringe if they read that!), I do like selling shoes, clothes, purses, HABA (health and beauty aid)-type of products but there seems to be a flood of sellers everywhere that do this. Finding a niche in this product line would be difficult, at best.
My response – To me, it’s really important to sell a category of merchandise you are passionate about. Passion breads determination when business slumps, and there are a lot of ups and downs working with liquidation merchandise. At the end of the day you’ll be less likely to give up if you’re selling items that are of interest to you. Also, people tend to be very knowledgeable about what they are interested or passionate about, right?
Take me as an example – I’ve spent well over a decade helping people source bulk secondary market goods! I’m passionate about helping people reach for the dream of owning their own business. I have a lot of knowledge about the secondary market, so I tie my experience with my passion and…viola, “I’m able to help others and satisfy my need to help others! Ok, enough of the corny junk, let’s get back to product sourcing talk!
Since you’re in to fashion, let’s choose this as your category. Your niche can be broad; I believe liquidation clothing, jewelry, and makeup all fall under the umbrella of fashion.
Now here is where most people go wrong- they decide to sell clothing and immediately start looking for specific brands within the secondary market. Or, specific brands of makeup- STOP. You’re not looking for specific brands…you’re going to start looking for specific deals. You’re mission is to find bulk liquidations that can be purchased at low cost, and then resold for a screaming profit.
If eBay is the playing field, keep a browser window open on eBay while you’re searching on the next browser tab for inventory. Now, I’ll tell you right of the bat, it’s not easy to find deals online. It can be done, but you’ve got to remember, you and a million other people are looking for the “deal.”
The trick to online sourcing is continuous searching day-after-day. Bookmark sites you found within The Liquidators Guide, and check them daily. Also, become familiar with the B2B auction and fixed price sites like Genco, Inmar Remarketplace, B-Stock, and Liquidation.com. Deals can be found on these sites! Just because the fish was not fresh on B-Stock (your past experience), don’t be afraid to try again. I, myself, have bought a few bummer loads from Genco, but you’ve got to remember, every load is different.
Alright, now on to the top secret liquidation sourcing info-
Drill down within the niche – You mentioned the market being flooded with clothing sellers. One way to combat this is to narrow down or specialize in a sub-niche. What the heck is a sub-niche? Well, women’s plus size apparel is a sub-niche of clothing; maternity is another sub-niche. Get the point?
Contact catalog companies – once you drill down your niche, start looking for specialty retailers who sell online and within print catalogs. Once you’ve found an online and catalog retailer, it’s time to pick up the phone and call corporate. Be persistent with calls trying to find the person in charge of excess overstocks. This is a win-win situation because these companies tend to have boat loads of unsold, last season’s stock. Cha-Ching!
Here’s a product sourcing action plan for the next two weeks. Stick to these steps and you will find profitable merchandise to resell:
- Bookmark a bunch of liquidation supplier sites / check them daily for new offers
- Signup for each suppliers email newsletter to receive fresh deals as they become available
- Find a niche catalog retailer and track down who handles the un-sellables / get pricing
- Register and become very familiar with Genco Marketplace, Inamr B2B Remarketplace, B-Stock, and Liquidation.com
- Report back to me in two weeks to tell me what you’ve come up with!
Our 2017 Liquidators Guide chronicles 12 years of wholesale product sourcing experience and includes my personal black book of direct source contacts! As an industry expert, I'll share the success I've enjoyed along with the mistakes I've made buying and reselling liquidation merchandise.
If you are thinking about buying pallets of liquidation merchandise from a liquidator, broker, or direct from department stores, you need to check out The Liquidators Guide