Most people call it "retail arbitrage" - the process of buying products cheaply from the likes of Walmart, and selling them online at a small profit. Whilst not the most effective way to make a living, it can give you some extra money to invest - which can then lead onto either having a larger company down the line, or just re-investing into more inventory.
The point is that "retail arbitrage" is a great demonstration of how the fast-paced modern world has a plethora of opportunity awaiting anyone willing to engage with it. This tutorial aims to give you an insight into exactly which products you should be building / designing, and how you should be selling them through the plethora of online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon.
If you're new to this world, the most important thing to realize is that EVERYTHING IS AN OPPORTUNITY - just because it seems nonsensical does not mean that it won't be beneficial to you; the trick lies in being able to identify the correct things to do in order to create wealth for all involved. How you do it is up to you - the point is that if you're looking at this from the perspective of trying to make progress in life, it's one of the more effective ways to do it.
How It Works
Entrepreneurship has been somewhat commoditized in the past 20 years, especially due to the rise of the Internet. It used to be the case that you'd need a huge amount of capital to create a business - and you'd only then be able to serve a local market.
The Internet gave us the opportunity to reach a global audience with very few barriers to entry. Whilst it obviously increased competition in the same regard; it gave savvy people the chance to change their lives by building a substantive asset-base from the products that most people will simply go and buy online.
This is the core of where most people see the opportunities in the modern world; offering new products to the global online audience. This is done either through your own website, Amazon, eBay, or one of the other large online marketplaces. Being able to understand how it works is the core of growth - allowing you to make significant progress if you do it correctly.
What To Sell
1. Used Games / Movies / Books
This is BY FAR the most important category for anyone looking to make progress. Selling used "entertainment" products is almost guaranteed to make you small amounts of profit; it's how Amazon started and is extremely good business (especially considering most people have tons of second hand books that they're basically willing to give away).
If you're able to get a hold of products which actually have large sales volumes, and decent prices, you'll typically find that people on Amazon / eBay will buy them for top price. For example, I've sold a large number of Nintendo 64 games recently. I bought them as a "job lot" from a friend; paid $50 for a large box of them.
After listing them on eBay (with photos), I quickly found that several were worth a LOT of money... Mario Kart 64, Super Mario 64, Goldeneye 007 and several other games received bids of $35 each. The most popular - BY FAR - was "Zelda Majora's Mask", which fetched $65.
Considering I had several of these popular games, I made a substantive profit on the lot. I was able to then re-invest this money into buying a number of other lots which had similar rare games inside.
I've also sold a number of books (the most popular is "The Secret") as well as a series of movies that my friend had & wanted to sell. You can sell both of these on Amazon and eBay, allowing you to make decent profits from each.
2. Branded Fashion
This is a BIG one.
eBay is rife with people looking for "branded" fashion deals, and they'll quickly jump onto anything that gives them a top name / quality for a fraction of the cost of what it would be on the high street. Whilst you may say "that's obvious", what most people don't know is that you can actually buy branded fashion products extremely cheaply from a number of discount / outlet stores, and basically sell them on the Internet for a profit.
A good example is Ralph Lauren. This is a mid-tier brand, who have "Outlet" stores around the world. I bought a sweater for £20.99 from one of their Outlets in the UK. Because I didn't like it, I decided to sell it online (its RRP is £110) - after listing it for several days, the price shot up to £28.99 and ended in the £30's.
The point is that this allowed me to make a profit from doing relatively little (I just flipped the product for massive money). I was able to replicate this with a large number of other products from Ralph Lauren, and also Michael Kors. I found that women's products (handbags) typically fetched the highest "resale" prices, and thus profits.
It must be noted that you cannot do this with Amazon; only eBay.
3. Web Design / Technical Services
This is tricky because you're not actually selling the "service" through Amazon / eBay, but the products you create off the back of it.
With Web Design / Technical Services, what you're doing is giving people the opportunity to embrace the digital age by launching a website, or online marketing campaign, with your help. This will typically gain a lot of local support - advertising "website creation" for $299 in the local paper will almost guarantee leads. However... the real trick with this type of service is to "solidify" any growth with actual boxed products.
Say you're a web developer who works with WordPress. Say you keep replicating functionality for each site you create. Say you want to make sure that you're able to replicate this more effectively in the future. You develop a plugin which provides you with the appropriate functionality, giving you the ability to help others achieve the same results without your direct input.
This is a product which can be sold online. You just need to create a "premium" version of the plugin, which you can get made into a simple "boxed" products and sell it on Amazon and eBay for $14.99 or similar. The beauty of this is that the takings from this type of sale are almost entirely profit. You do it once and get continual paychecks irrespective of what else you're doing.
4. eBooks / "How To" Manuals
People are ALWAYS looking for "how to manuals" which skip to the actual "meat on the bone". Obviously, you can't write about things which are regulated (medical / financial etc) - but there are plenty of "problems" which require specific information to fix.
• Buying Property
• Moving Overseas
• Creating a Network
• Fixing Computers
• HAM Radio
• Arduino Development
• How To Create Web Based Applications
• Game Development
• Writing a Novel
• Wedding Planning For Beginners
• How To Tailor Your Own Suit
These can all be packaged into a booklet and sold on one of the large online marketplaces. Price the book at something like $7.99 if it's small; $14.99 if it's somewhat larger and then $29.99 if it's quite extensive.
The important thing here is that these should be used as a way to attract leads to a wider business. The demand for these products does not exist in a vacuum, and it's often the case that people will either buy them to satisfy an underlying desire (to move abroad), or to indulge in a part of life they may have not had access to before.
In terms of "selling" this type of product, ALWAYS lead with a "personal" brand - position yourself (or whoever actually created the information) as an expert - ("R Peck's Guide To Learning French in 14 Days").
This can then be backed up with a YouTube channel, Twitter feed, regular meetups to help people in various local communities. The products you offer on Amazon/eBay should just form part of this strategy.
This type of "information marketing" is a huge market and should definitely be considered - especially if you have a strong skillset, perhaps with a university education to back it up. The key soundbite with this is to practice what you preach. Fakes always get found out in the end.
5. Game Cheats / Hacks / Guides
The "eSports" market is growing. The reason for this is because many people seem to have an obsession about becoming really good at a particular game. Whilst these people are many, they generally won't buy anything related to improving because they already think they are good... however, they will buy proven "hacks" / "systems" which guarantee improvement in a specific way.
Much like the eBook / "How To" recommendation above, if you're able to compile a system of appropriate information for a popular game, you'll make sales no matter who you are.
Here are some of the most popular at present:
• League Of Legends
• Call of Duty
• World of Warcraft
• Starcraft II
Obviously there are more - but these provide you with an insight into what you're able to offer.
How To Do It
What you're really doing here is providing a "retail" opportunity for people participating in the "global" markets of eBay, Amazon and even the likes of Google. You're not trying to re-invent the wheel; people in those marketplaces want particular products, and it's your job to provide them.
The best to make this works properly is to provide extremely high quality products at a fair price. Don't go crazy and try to squeeze everybody dry; you need to identify what you'd be willing to pay, and offer a product/service at that price. I've found it's better to under-charget than over-charge.
After this, you also need to ensure that you re-invest the money back into buying / building inventory. Don't make the mistake of spending what you make; you'll just reset yourself back to the beginning again.
Richard Peck has 15+ yrs programming (VB/PHP/Ruby/C#), 5+ years graphic design. Provider of technical support solutions, our services help improve underlying digital infrastructure through the likes of 24/7 technical support, digital device optimization and brand marketing. If you need support, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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