Rob, I have recently become “serious” about my EBay and Amazon business, within the past 4 months. It’s been a lot of fun, learning, and even some decent profit 🙂 My question is this….
I have been buying pallets from WalMart through B-stock. I have managed to make a decent profit off of the pallets each time. However, I feel like I am really missing out on some larger margins. I consider it a good month if I make $1000 off of 4 pallets. Through my readings, it seems that there are other product sourcing options where I’d be able to obtain merchandise at a much lower rate. Right now, I pay about $1500 for $12,000 worth of goods. What I make sure I do is run my numbers from the manifest before bidding on the auctions.
My BEST income has come from going to the flea market and buying out people’s stands. Then I put those on Amazon. That’s the kind of buy low-sell high I’d like to find on a consistent basis from an online source. I live on the east coast and was wondering if you had any feedback for me. By day I work in corporate wellness. My schedule is extremely flexible. So it has left me a lot of time to really make this side business work for me. I don’t even know if I asked a real question here or not. Maybe it will start a good conversation, if anything. Also, I’m really enjoying our Facebook group. –Michele
My Answer: Michele…hello, and thank you for emailing, I love these stories! Very motivating for both me and our readers to hear from someone who is in the trenches making it work. The answer to your question lies within your email, in my opinion. Creativity in sourcing.
The best way to source profitable inventory is by thinking outside of the box. Everyone can google specific queries and look for wholesalers and liquidators while product sourcing, but I would challenge our readers to look for sources that aren’t readily available to other eBay and Amazon sellers.
Product Sourcing Outside The Box
Michele, just as within your email, sometimes the misfortune of someone else can be a gold mine for eBay and Amazon sellers. We touched upon this concept and idea in our Facebook Group last week.
Local Liquidations – Watch local for retail stores that are going out of business. When a store decides to close, it’s often a great time to find highly discounted merchandise that can be snapped up for pennies on the dollar. When I use this technique I wait until the final markdown days to start shopping. The best time to purchase merchandise is on the very last day, within the last hour of the liquidation sale. At this time a bulk buyer can go to the store owner and make a “take all offer” for goods that are still remaining. I’ve personally done this and it is not only a great way to buy in bulk, it’s exciting to boot!
I remember when Gottschalks closed in Chico; I was there with money in hand, at the very last minute. I ended up buying approximately 450 apparel items at 3% of retail. I told the cashier I wanted everything on the remaining racks. I walked out with a ton of inventory and a smile on my face.
Closeout Investigating – have you ever wanted to be a detective? This product sourcing technique is fun because you literally get to track down closeouts that can make you a fortune on eBay and Amazon. OK, here’s your mission: head off to your local Walmart or Target and make sure to bring a notepad and pen.
Once in the store of our choosing, start your investigation within an area of interest. If you like sporting goods, head over to the sporting goods aisle; if you like home décor, head over to the decor department. Once you’ve found your section, start picking up items from the shelf and begin to write down distribution and manufacturing information. You know, flip the item over and look at the small print. Often, you will find contact information right on retail packaging. It is this information you can take home later and start making phone calls asking for closeout inventories. All distributors and manufacturers will have closeout items that they need to liquidate!
You can also take photos of the contact information found on merchandise packaging instead of writing down notes, whichever is easier for you. I cannot tell you how many SECRET sources of closeouts I’ve found using this method.
There’s foot work involved in the last product sourcing method, but you can also search online for closeouts! We’ve put together a list of closeout wholesalers to help our eBay and Amazon sellers save time with product sourcing. Check the list out here.
Michele thanks again for emailing. I hope my answers were helpful to you and others reading this post. Sometimes the best way to compete with other sellers on eBay and Amazon simply boils down to not sourcing from the same sources as they are, does this make sense? Unique inventory makes a seller successful. Congrats on profiting from Walmart pallets on B-Stock, but everyone can jump on that wagon.
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