Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Selling General Goods on EBay

General goods are products that we use every day. Selling these items on Ebay might not sound as exciting as selling collectibles or antiques, but it is possible to make a good, constant income from selling general goods. Tools, bulk consumables, and hobby supplies are examples of items which are always “in season”. Someone will need them year-round. This makes general goods a steady market for Ebay sellers.

This is not to say that the market for such items never fluctuates; it does. But the rises and falls happen over much longer periods of time and tend to be less dramatic. One pitfall for sellers of general goods is market saturation. If someone is browsing Ebay and notices that bulk yarn is fetching a decent price, they will be tempted to list yarn of their own. Others will follow suit, and soon the bottom will fall out of the yarn market. This will happen over time rather than overnight. Still, it can be frustration to lose revenue due to market saturation. If you decide to sell general goods on Ebay, do frequent searches for items similar to those you’re selling. If you see too many, start listing different goods until some of the competition is gone. You don’t want to have to sell off your inventory at a loss.

One good way to undercut competitors’ prices is selling used or refurbished items. You can often get these products for low prices, then sell them for a profit on Ebay. As long as the items are in top condition, buyers will appreciate the lower listing price and buy the items from you rather than a higher-priced listing. Quality and honesty are key when dealing with used items. List all flaws in the item’s description, and document spots, tears, or scratches with photos. The last thing you want to is send a worn item to a buyer who was expecting something pristine and perfect. Be forthcoming about item quality, or risk negative feedback and a bad reputation.

Of all the types of items that can be sold on Ebay, general goods and consumables behave the most like traditional business goods. This market allows sellers to put old fashioned virtues to work. Effort, frugality, and excellent customer service will have a huge impact on a merchant’s success. The huge sales are more elusive in this market, but general goods and consumables make for a slow and steady income that is quite dependable.

Be realistic with your goals. There are true stories about sellers who made instant fortunes on Ebay. But for every overnight success, there are thousands who have to use hard work and common sense to make ends meet. Aim for a solid supplemental income, then slowly expand your business until it can be your sole endeavor. And diversify, diversify, diversify! You don’t want to depend on one item, or even a few items, to generate your income. The market can and will change, and not always in your favor. Instead, offer many different types of general goods so that one slow market won’t affect your overall income.

General goods and consumables will always have a place on Ebay. Set up an Ebay store or make frequent auction listings to showcase the diversity of your inventory. Once you’ve built up a reputation for having what everyone needs, when they need it, at a fair price, you will have a bright future as a seller of general goods.

1 comment:

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