Starting a Online EBay Business Part 4: Research What to sell

Ok you have setup your eBay account, sold few items, is quiet comfortable with selling and buying on eBay’s web site and now very excited and serious about starting an eBay business and make some serious money, but where do you begin?  Well the first thing you need to consider is decide what you want to sell or find out which items sells best on eBay.  A lot of new sellers go crazy and start buying things before doing any research and later find out that the item they bought to sell is worth few pennies on eBay or they put it on for auction and hardly gets any bids because the item is either not popular or other sellers are selling much cheaper than price that the new seller can’t sell it for as they purchased at that price.  Please and I say this to everyone don’t start buying anything to sell until you have carried out a proper research.

I spend hours a day browsing the hot items on eBay and browse all categories and complete listings on their sites to find out what’s popular and what price it is going for. It gives me an indication on whether the item will be profitable or not when I consider selling it.  When I see an item that is doing particularly well, I make a note of it and keep an eye out for it when I go to buy my items.  Of course you’ll never know how well an item will sell until you try it but it helps to get a good idea of what’s doing good and what doesn’t really get enough bids to be worth your time and efforts.

Tips!

Complete listings on eBay

Simply put: something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. No matter the item and regardless of what it is appraised for or what ‘book value’ says it is worth, it boils down to what someone can actually sell it for.

A great way to find out what virtually anything is worth is by using eBay’s completed listings tool. By using a typical keyword search, you can see all the applicable listings in the past 15 days, which includes both items, that sold and those that did not, as well as the final price. While this method certainly isn’t the ‘be all’, it is a very easy way to get an idea of what you could sell or buy something for.

The completed listings search on eBay requires you to have an account, but this is negligible compared to the value this tool offers.

So which items sells best on eBay?

Please note some of the items mentioned here are my personal selling experience on eBay. I tested them on eBay and managed to sell them successfully and this is why I am mentioning them here however there are thousands and probably millions of other items which are popular as these items which I am or I may not be aware of, so just because I have not mentioned them here this does not mean it is not worth selling or looking into. I suggest you carry out your own research after reading this hub and make your own list, if you find anything interested please let me know.

Here is the list of popular items I regularly sell on eBay:

  1. ·         Vintage Jewellery
  2. ·         Vintage Video Consoles
  3. ·         Laptop / Computer Parts and Accessories
  4. ·         Vintage Technology Items
  5. ·         Vintage Calculators.
  6. ·         Polaroid Instant Picture Cameras
  7. ·         Vintage / Antique Cameras
  8. ·         Board games
  9. ·         Old cassette recorders / players
  10. ·         Car mascots and name badges
  11. ·         Old DIY Tools
  12. ·         Used / Faulty Mobile Phones
  13. ·         Old watches and clocks
  14. ·         Used Designer Bags
  15. ·         Used and New Books
  16. ·         Vintage Cigarette Cases
  17. ·         Tobacco Grinders
  18. ·         Vintage Toys and games
  19. ·         Computer Software and games
  20. ·         Information Products, Ebooks and Open Source Software

Vintage Jewellery

Old and vintage jewelleries are hot seller items on eBay especially if it is from Victorian era.  A lot of jewellery collectors browse ebay’s site so it is an ideal place to sell.  If you have a piece that is named or signed it can be worth a fortune.  Look out for names such as Haskell, Tiffany, Florenza, Miriam, Channel, etc.  Jewelleries from 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s & 1960’s are also popular if they are well made and has marks or signs on them.  I sell lots of vintage brooches on eBay and they regularly sell.  The profit is not huge but I buy them for 0.50p – £5.00 and make few quids out of them.  The reason I sell them is that I can buy them very cheap and sell them quickly to make a small profit and get quick feedback, which increase my feedback score on eBay.  You can also make a good profit if you can buy jewellery in job lot and then sell them individually or you can buy them single and then put them in a job lot, trust me it works both ways.  Rhinestone jewellery sells great, especially if it’s in good condition and all the stones are present.  If you find a rhinestone set in good condition for few quids then you have a good find and there is a good profit waiting for you.

Vintage Video Consoles

nintendo game cube
nintendo game cube
spectrum
spectrum

Early video games and consoles are becoming very collectible these days and collectors are always looking out for these items.  These are not necessarily rare items as they were produced in mass quantities but they are still collectible especially if it is in boxed condition with all accessories and manuals.  I have recently bought a boxed Sega Master System Console for £15.00 and sold it on eBay for £45.00, so you can see that is a good profit.  Old hand held consoles such as game gear and Nintendo game boy are also popular if they are in good working order so look out for these when you are going out to buy.  Electronic games and consoles made by the following companies are very popular: Atari, Mattel, Entex, Casio, Bandai, Amiga, Sinclair, Acetonic, Sony, MB, Commodore, Nintendo, Sega.

Laptop / Computer Parts and Accessories

laptop
laptop

If you look at the computing category on eBay’s web site you will realize that this category has hundreds and thousands of listings, its because this is probably one of the most popular category on their site and thousands of sellers (individuals and businesses) sells under this category, some sellers trades directly with computer suppliers and sell under this category.  There is a huge opportunity to make some serious money if you sell computers and laptops on eBay.

In the past I have sold many computer and laptop related items on eBay and made huge amount of money.  In fact I sold my first computer on their site and still manage to get £50.00 after using it for 4 years.  My best sale was a faulty laptop that I bought for £5.00 and managed to make £40.00 profits.  After I purchased the laptop I took the battery out and sold it separately for £19.00, I then took the hard drive and kept it for myself and sold the laptop as scrap for £25.00.  See that’s not bad is it; you just need to work out your sale strategy.  I could have sold the whole laptop for just £25.00 quick profit without taking the battery and hard drive out but I didn’t as I knew laptop batteries sells well on eBay and thought I will sell it at a fix price of £19.00 and then auction the laptop and get whatever I can. 

The reason why computers and laptops are so popular is because there is a demand for it and everybody is looking for computers and computer parts for repairing or upgrading their PCs or laptops, it is becoming an essential part of their life, lets face it everybody needs a computer these days be it for work, school or entertainment and because of this the demand for such items has increased in the past years.

Some of the popular items to sell are: Graphics cards, Modems and routers, Blue tooth, Hard drive, Wireless cards, Wireless mouse and keyboards, DVD writers, Digital TV cards, TFT Monitors, Base Units, New printers, Laptop chargers and batteries, Printer cables, USB and Ethernet cables, Ink cartridges, Network hubs and cards, etc.

Vintage Technology Items

casio keyboard
casio keyboard
radio scanner
radio scanner
sony cd player
sony cd player
metal measuring device
metal measuring device

Scientific instruments have long held a fascination for collectors; none of us can fully understand and appreciate today’s technology without knowing the history behind them.  Eager collectors are always looking out for new and exciting scientific instruments to add on to their collection, some are willing to pay anything if the item is hard to find or unique.  So if you have that special item everyone is looking for then there is an opportunity waiting for you.  I once bought an old Casio calculator for 0.50p without any batteries in it.  When I got home and checked its value on eBay I realized one sold for £75.00, it was in good condition and fully working with its original box, now I thought here is an opportunity, so I went to the battery shop and got two cell batteries for it for 2.00 but once I put the batteries in I realize the item was faulty (damn it) so I listed it as faulty with a start bid of 0.99p and let the auction run for 10 days to attract more bidders.  I was surprised to see there were 35 bidders watching the item and on the last day it sold for £8.00 and someone from France purchased it.  There wasn’t much money at the end but it was still fun and now I have one more item on my list of items to look out for when I go to buy things to sell on eBay.

Here is what to look our for when you are buying: Timekeeping instrument, surveying equipments, calculators, navigation instruments, Telescopes, Microscopes, Weights and measures, communications, Old Telephones, Vintage cameras, Mechanical Music, Computing equipments, Medical instruments.

Vintage Calculators.

vintage calculator
vintage calculator
texas calculator
texas calculator

With the advancement of technology and computers transforming our lives so much that its predecessors are now becoming things of the past and valuable collectibles.  Today calculating devices are becoming one of the most popular fields of technology collecting.  On eBay I have seen many of these items manual and electronic calculators ending with large number of bids and some reaching 3 or more figure bids.  Vintage calculators of 70’s and 80’s do really well and you can pick these up for pounds and resell for 10 – 20 pound each if it’s in good condition and fully working.  Look out for good brand such as Casio, Sinclair, Commodore, Sharp, Texas Instruments, etc.  Manual calculators such as abaci, pocket-adding machines, slide rules, computing scales, adding table, etc are high value items.

Polaroid Instant Picture Cameras

polaroid express
polaroid express
vintage polaroid
vintage polaroid
polaroid 600
polaroid 600

This item is on my favorite items list and it always sells when I list it and gives me well over 50% profit every time.  I didn’t realize how popular this is on eBay until one day I purchased one for 0.50p and sold it for £8.00.  I then did some research and found out these cameras are selling for £9.99 to £49.99 on eBay and since that day I began to buy and sell them on eBay.  These cameras come in many different models, colours and shapes but almost all of them are popular and will sell.  It is also quiet easy to get hold of them very cheap and I will reveal where you get them from on the coming chapter where I discuss where to get your items from to sell on eBay.  I regularly purchase them for £1.00 to £5.00 and sell them for £9.99 and above.  I recently bought one for £3.00 and sold it for £25.00.

The reason why these cameras are so popular is because Polaroid no longer manufactures them and you cannot buy it anymore from local retailers such as Boots who use to sell these.  If you find one of these and it comes with a film then you have a great buy and there is good money to be made as one with a film will sell for more, I have seen just the films selling on eBay for £10.00 to £40.00.  If you find the films for these then buy it and resell them on eBay, trust me if you find it cheap you can easily make a good profit out of them.  Its very hard to find them though, so far I managed to find just one and purchased it for 0.50p, it was out of date (date expired in 2005) but I still managed to sell it for £12.00.

Vintage / Antique Cameras

vintage camera
vintage camera
olympus trip 35
olympus trip 35
olympus slr film camera
olympus slr film camera
vintage camera
vintage camera

Cameras has changed its shapes, colours, look and size since it was introduced in the 19th century, from Brownies to SLRs and from Instamatic to spy cameras, the changing technology can make for a fascinating collection.  Vintage cameras are collectors item on eBay and even though the digital cameras has taken over the market there is still a lot of money to be made with vintage cameras, especially if it’s a good make and model or if it’s a rare one.  There are lots of collector’s from all around the world looking out for these to complete their collection.  I have sold many in the past to UK’s and overseas customers and I still have a lot of them to in stock to sell.

Tip!

When buying vintage cameras look out for good brand name such as Kodak, Zeiss, Leica, Pentax, Lancaster International, Polaroid, etc.

Look for accessories, such as extra lenses, carrying case, flash and light meters, as they add value to a camera.

Seek cameras with their original package and manuals or instruction booklet.

Here are some popular models: (1) Franke & Heidecke Rolleiflex 2.8f  (2) Zeiss Ikon Contax III (3) Leica IIIa (4) Silver Corfield Periflex I SLR (5) Kodak Baby Box Brownie (6) Kodak Disc 4000 (7) Brownie No. 1A Pocket Kodak

Board games

scrabble game
scrabble game
chess board game
chess board game
chess board
chess board

Certain board games are very popular on eBay and there is always a chance some one will buy them when you list it.  For a game to sell for a nice profit it has to be in good and complete condition but some damage or defects can be overlooked if the game is collectible and rare.  I sell vintage and modern board games regularly on eBay and if it’s a modern one I make sure it is complete if I am selling an used one, if it isn’t I don’t bother as there is not much profit and it’s not worth the effort.  Whenever I find a new sealed game priced reasonably I purchase it, as I know it will do well.  There are certain board games I always look out for and these are: Scrabble, Monopoly, Hotel, Travel Scrabble, Cluedo, Tidly Wink, and Chess.  Out of all of them scrabble and monopoly are most popular and if you can find a new one you can sell it for £10.00 and above without much trouble.  When buying avoid paying anything above £5.00 as this will kill your profit margin.

Old cassette recorders / players

sanyo tape recorder
sanyo tape recorder
sony tape recorder
sony tape recorder
Philips tape recorder
Philips tape recorder

If you look under consumer electronics category on eBay you will realize there is a sub category called vintage electronics where people lists old electronics items.  I recently bought two old Phillips brand cassette recorder for 5.00, they were never used and one was boxed and one opened.  I tried to research them on eBay and on the Internet but could not find much information on them so I decided to sell them under the vintage electronic category with a starting bid of 0.99p.  I described the item using the information on the box and let the auction run for seven days.  To my surprise within hours 2 bidders enquired about it and one asked for a buy it now price but I let the auction run for 7 days and on the last day there were 16 bidders.  The final bid was 48.00 from a bidder in Poland who paid 48.00 + 16.00 postage to get hold of it.  I immediately on the same day listed the other one again for seven days and it went for 16.00 as it was not boxed and did not come with any instruction.  You see sometimes you will never know the true value of something on eBay until you listed them.  It was after selling these two recorders I decided to do some research on old cassette and tape recorders and my time wasted on my research paid of as I found out lots of interesting things.  I now know popular brands vintage tape recorders and cassette players are collectors items on eBay.  Brands such as Phillips, Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, and Sharp are search term used by people looking for vintage tape recorders and players.  I also found out item such as vintage Dictaphone, cassette stereo player, record players, radios and jukebox are also popular items to sell.  Since my research on this I have sold several cassette players, stereos and Dictaphone on eBay and continue to search for them when I go out to buy my items.

Car mascots and name badges

One of my friend drives a BMW and one day while he parked his car to do some shopping some one came and took his car badge off leaving his car without a BMW logo which he was very proud off.  He was very upset about it and didn’t like the look of his car without the badge so he decided to go and get one from the BMW garage but when he asked how much it is he was told 125.00 (he almost had a heart attack), what he said and left.  He then asked me where he could get a cheap one from and I told him to look for it on eBay.  Couple of days later he rang me and told me he got one for 15.00 from a guy in Germany and it was the cheapest one he could find as most of the new one are for 25.00 or more plus postage fee.  It was after this conversation the idea of selling car badges and mascots on eBay came to my mind.  When I looked into it I realized there was a potential there and an opportunity to make money.  People buy these for two reason, one because they need them as repair parts or they collect them.  I know people who likes car such as Jaguar, Rolls Royce and Mercedes and they collect mascots from different models.  These companies also made mascots that were for collectors.  If you go and search on eBay for Jaguar or Rolls Royce Mascot you will realize the true value of these, some are selling for hundreds.  Car badges sells really well especially if it’s for a popular make or model of car.

Other items

Old DIY Tools

There are two sides to the vintage or antique-tool market. Some buyers actually use the pieces that they buy because an old tool can be better for a skilled job than its modern equivalent. Others simply collect.  Some one who wants to make a cabinet based on 18th century design would be keen to use 18th century tools to make it.  Collector’s who collects tools are sometimes looking for specific tools made by specific company such as Stanley whereas others will collect anything that looks interesting, has a history or simply use it as an object of display art.

Generally people are now looking for the earlier and rarer items and I have the seen value of these has increased in the past years as the demand is growing, so trading in old and vintage tools could be a profitable business.

Now enough excuses: there has never been a better time to clear out the shed.

Look out for names susch as: Stanley, Marples, Norris, Addis, Moss Flowers, Spiers, A. Mason, Thomas Bradburn & Son, Haswell, RT Towell, Gilbert, and Preston.

Used / Faulty Mobile Phones

Yes and selling used / broken / damaged / unwanted phones / faulty mobile phones are increasing in popularity. The number of people who have discovered that they can get cash for mobiles that they don't use, want or need any more is growing quickly.  I have made hundreds of pound on eBay selling old and faulty mobile phones.  Not only mobile phones but people are also looking for parts such as battery, case, LCD screens, Keypads, Memory Cards, Charges, etc and sellers from countries such as china, Korea and Japan are making huge amount of money selling mobile phones and parts on eBay.  As many of these items are manufactured there they are able to get hold of it easily.  But people from UK, USA and Europe are also making money selling these by importing them from other countries.

The best way to make money by selling old or faulty mobile phones is to buy them in bulk / job lot and then sell them individually.  If you know how to repair a phone then you can buy faulty phones cheap, then repair it and sell it for a higher price, but if you cant fix a fault you can still sell it as spare/repair and make good money, especially if it’s a latest model or the fault is minor.  I once purchased 10 faulty phones for £21.00 and then sold each one individually on eBay after listing them one phone on its own sold for £49.00 and it was faulty but it was a good model, the rest all went for above £10.00 each.  At the end I made well over £100.00 with the 10 phones.  Isn’t that amazing, you never know when a surprise is waiting for you.  I used this method so many times and every time it was a success.  Even old models of phones sell as people use the parts in them.  If you have a working phone that is unlocked to any network then you will get more money than what you think you will get and I don’t see why you shouldn’t as unlocking will cost you between 10 – 20.

Old watches and clocks

Rolex, Seiko, Casio, Swiss, Pulsar, these are some of the names you should consider when you decide to sell watches on eBay.  These brands are hot seller whether you are selling new or old watches.  I haven’t sold many watches on eBay but I know this area is profitable especially when you are dealing in old and collectible watches.  Old pocket watches are another hot area you should consider.  Retro and gadget watches from 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are very popular and wanted by watch and sci-fi collectors.  Remember those old Casio calculator and remote control watches from the 80’s and 90’s, if you find one cheap anywhere buy it and then put up for auction on eBay and you will see what I mean.  If you find a cheap watch with not batteries in it or the battery is dead buy it and then put a new battery in to make it work and then sell it for more, make sure you put the battery in yourself rather than going to repair shop as it will cost you too much to repair.  Invest on a watch repair kit, which will make your job easier.

Used Designer Bags

Buying a designer bag is expensive business and is sometimes impossible for someone to afford one, so there is a market for used designer bags and I have seen many listed on eBay every day.  As a new designer bag comes out every season a lot of people will flog their old for less than half the price they purchased it for once they purchased a new bag.  This creates an opportunity for those who can’t afford a designer bag to own one.  Old and vintage bags are collectible fashion items and auctioning or selling them online can make a huge amount of money.  If it’s a rare item sometimes collectors will pay more than it’s original value to own it.  Look out for famous labels such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Fendi, Gucci, Channel, Burberry, Kate Spade, Chritian Dior, Armani, Versace, etc.

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Comments 3 comments

Purple Perl profile image

Purple Perl 5 years ago from Bangalore,India

The list intrigued me, as I did not know these had buyers.


trust1 profile image

trust1 4 years ago from Winnipeg, Maniitoba

Great Info , thanks for sharing with everyone


dpsimswm profile image

dpsimswm 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

Good info. It's also important to establish good feedback ratings.

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