In the years since Nic and I started our reselling journey we’ve seen a business idea that seemed unconventional and out of the ordinary become vastly more common and in many ways a trendy thing to do. There are many reasons for this. Mainly due to the evolution of the internet and the introduction of social media, the world seems a smaller place, but it is also due to economic and environmental changes.
Most of us go about our everyday lives with miniature computers in our pockets, bags or hands, in the form of our phones, and access to the internet is a simple swipe away. We are free from the restrictions of the past. The need to be sat at a computer and waiting to connect to dial up, or for pages to upload, is a distant memory. The internet world is now completely mobile and flexible. Therefore starting an internet business such as online reselling, is easier than it has ever been before. Added to that there are many selling apps and sites to choose from.
Making a start
When considering if a reselling business is right for you, either as a full time or a part time venture, we always suggest one thing first. Start by selling items you already own and no longer want or need. This way you can learn as you go, and have a bit more freedom to make mistakes. It will also give you time to build up some feedback and experience.
One of the places you can make a start is in your own wardrobe. Let’s face it, clothes are something most of us have in abundance, and I defy anyone to say that they don’t own at least a couple items of clothing, bags, shoes, or accessories that they never wear, or are likely to wear again, so this is the easiest place to start. If you haven’t worn it for a while, forgotten about it, it doesn’t fit or you’ve fallen out of love with it, place it on a pile to go.
Once you have been through your wardrobe, cupboards, drawers etc, and you are satisfied with the items you have chosen to discard, check the condition of each item. Ask yourself the question, ‘Would I be happy with the condition of this item if I had purchased it for myself?’. If the answer is no because it’s too worn, or it has damage, the item can be placed on a pile to donate to charity or to recycle. If the answer is yes, this item is in great condition and I would be happy to receive this myself, it can be placed on a pile to resell.
Where can I sell my unwanted items
There are a few choices available to you. The main and obvious platform to sell is eBay. However, there are other platforms and online apps available to you now. Let’s explore…
eBay is the biggest platform available for reselling, offering the largest and most diverse market and customer base. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. The positive is that your items are likely to reach a bigger range of people, the bad thing is that selling on eBay is becoming quite a crowded market. Don’t let this put you off though. A lovely item, well photographed and described, within the item specifics section and the description box, will always attract views.
If you are unsure what price to select for your item, look around eBay, searching similar items, looking at sold listings etc to give you more of an idea how much an item like yours can, and has, sold for.
If you don’t currently have an account with eBay it is best to start with a Personal Account as you are selling your own items. You can upgrade to a Business Account at a later date.
There are two options for selling on Amazon. One is fulfilling the order yourself, the other is FBA Fulfillment By Amazon. When you first start out, fulfilling your own orders is the way to go. This way you will get used to the platform and how everything works. Due to more and higher fees FBA is something you would use once you are an established business.
Having set up a selling account on Amazon, listing your items for sale is fairly simple. Find the item on the site and click on the button on the right hand side which says ‘Sell on Amazon’. Fill out the relevant details, set your price, and away you go.
This is a younger and more trend based app. You can only use this via your mobile device as there is no desktop version. Familiarise yourself with the app and the type of item that sells well here, before you decide if your items are suitable for the app’s market. The app caters for Women, Men and Kids. You can also sell a range of non clothing items here.
This is very much a social media based platform. Sales and customer visibility of your items rely heavily on the use of hashtags and promotion of your shop outside of the app itself i.e. sharing on other social media sites such as Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. If you are not social media savvy, this is not the platform for you. If social media is very much a part of your life and language, this is a fun and effective app to use. It is certainly one of the fastest growing and popular resale apps.
It is free to list on Depop but be aware that the app does charge a 10% fee on your sale price and postage fee. They have recently introduced their own ‘Ship with Depop’ option. You can either use this option, where they provide you with a postage label to drop off at your local Hermes drop off point, or you can set and fulfill your own postage. They also use Paypal to handle any money paid, therefore you will require a Paypal account and extra Paypal fees will be incurred. See Paypal for more information on this.
In conclusion, the app is user friendly, making it easy and quick to list. They also offer both photo and video options to showcase your item for sale.
If you have any vintage items (Etsy class ‘Vintage’ as anything 20 years old and older) or items handmade by you, Etsy is the place to go for these. It is a very similar listing process to all other resale apps and you have the bonus of being able to also list on your computer desktop. There is no video option to use, still photos only.
More fees are incurred with the use of Etsy. Each basic listing costs $0.20 USD for 4 months. You can set your listings to auto renew if they don’t sell within this time period. There is also a 5% Transaction fee on your sale and postage price once your item sells. Once your item sells it is up to you to work out the best postal option. There are no labels to download here.
A big bonus of using Etsy is that it is a large platform which is still growing in this country, therefore the customer base is a little bigger.
There are other platforms and options to use, but these are the most popular at the moment. If you have time it is a good idea to list the same item across the platforms if you feel the item suits each market. This gives your items more of a chance of selling.
What equipment will I need?
When you start out you don’t need a lot of fancy or expensive equipment. If you have a mobile phone or tablet, you are covered. You can use your phone as your camera, set up your item in natural light, list on an app, research sold listings and use mobile paypal and online banking. As you progress you may want to invest in better lighting, a laptop or desktop computer etc, but you don’t need any of that to start.
Becoming a business
Once you decide that you want to start a part time or full time ebay business, buying items to resell for profit, you must register as a sole trader/partnership/ltd company etc with HMRC and change your ebay account from a personal account to a business one, in order to comply with distance selling regulations. Failure to do this could result in some legal issues for you.
What should I buy?
You will have gleaned a lot of knowledge and experience from selling your own items and will have an idea of the type of items you enjoy selling and those that you don’t. We always suggest that you pick up items to sell that you enjoy and have some knowledge in. That way you will always enjoy the finding and listing process and it won’t feel so much like a chore. Overtime you can learn about new niches and other items to sell, but start with what you already know. Perhaps you are knowledgeable in areas such as Antiques, Collectible Toys, Fashion, Sport, Electronics, Gaming etc?
Every online reselling business is different, catering for different lifestyles and circumstances. There is no one size fits all. What works for one reseller, make not work for another. The business you create for yourself is a very personal and individual one tailored to you.
When gauging a resell price remember to do your research, and we certainly advise checking completed listings to get an idea of the value or demand for something.
Learning as you go
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, they are often the way to learn. You will learn as you go, so definitely don’t worry about having limited knowledge at the start.
Take the leap
Our final piece of advice is simply to jump right in, give it a go. You will soon find out if it’s something that you enjoy doing and a way to make money that you will enjoy. Don’t overthink it, just take the leap.