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Starting an Online Reselling Business
How to Begin
I'll tell you right now, the first piece of advice I'm about to give you is the most important part of this whole article. The best, and in my opinion the only, way to get your start selling online is by selling the inventory you already own. Whether you realize it or not, you already own inventory. Those old baseball cards - inventory. That old computer you recently upgraded - inventory. The old garage in the attic you never use anymore - inventory. You already purchased these items, the cost factor for most of this inventory is out the window because you're not using it anyway and you're probably not able to return it anymore. I encourage you to ask your friends if they have anything they'd like to get rid of too, tell them you'll split the profit with them - they'll be happy to get any money for most of the things. Not only are you going to use these items to generate startup money for your business but you're going to involve them in your first learning curve.
I got my start selling on eBay when I was younger than 15 years old. I used my mother's account to sell some old hockey cards I had laying around and anything else I could get my hands on. During this time I learned just about everything I needed to know to be successful selling online. I learned about profit margins, various fees, shipping, online money transfers, product searches, customer service, etc... eBay also teaches you the importance of being good to your customers. One bad experience and a customer can damage your reputation on eBay with a negative feedback comment and hurt your future listings. Whenever anybody asks me today how they can get started doing what I do online this is the suggestion I always give. There is no better learning curve than this process.
The Next Step
eBay is a great marketplace to start your online business and it will always be a great compliment to any online business strategy. Unfortunately, however, you cannot rely on eBay as your sole marketplace because of their fees and the heavy competition. You also can't rely on items floating around your house for inventory forever.
After you've depleted the inventory of items laying around your house you're going to need to branch out and start searching for a wholesale supplier or dropshipper. Wholesale suppliers are businesses that sell to various retail stores - both online and brick and mortar - at low "wholesale" prices for the purpose of being resold to the general public. Dropshippers are essentially wholesalers who will actually ship products to your customers after you make a sale online. However, this usually involves fees and tends to produce a little less in profit. Whether you decide to use a wholesaler or dropshipper is completely up to you, they both have their pros and cons.
To find these wholesalers and dropshippers I highly recommend investing in a wholesale directory. Wholesale directories are essentially large telephone books full of contact details for wholesalers and dropshippers around the world. These wholesale directories have spent years and thousands of dollars finding the best wholesalers and dropshippers out there and verifying them to ensure they're reliable and trustworthy. This will help you avoid the tens of thousands wholesale scams that are out there today. One wholesale directory I highly recommend is Worldwide Brands. You can read a Worldwide Brands review to learn more.
To The Next Level
Once you've found a trustworthy and reliable supplier with good prices you've won 90% of the battle. The next thing you're going to want to do is invest in your own storefront or eCommerce store. As I mentioned before, you cannot count on eBay because of their tendency to eat up your profits with their hefty fees. An online store typically only charges a flat monthly rate in addition to credit card processing fees you'll have to pay for your merchant account which average about 3%. One eCommerce solution I highly recommend is 3DCart.
Actually setting up your store is only half the battle. Driving traffic to it is a whole other ballgame. You'll want to start by using Google PPC advertising which is a fast track to the first pages of Google results. However, this is paid advertising which costs you every time somebody clicks your ad. This can cost anywhere from $0.20 to $2.00 depending on your industry. You're going to want to start implementing SEO strategies ASAP. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a long process but, if done correctly, has an astounding ROI. SEO will get you in those first pages of Google as well but this time you don't pay when people click on your site, it's 100% free!
This is a very general and quick overview. There is obviously much more detail that goes into each step but I don't have time or room to delve into everything right here. There are plenty of resources available online to do your own research. Consider this an outline, my outline, the same outline I used to get to where I am today working completely online as my own boss.
Some words of advice I'd like to leave you with. 700%. That is how much more it will cost you to gain a new customer compared to how much it will cost you to keep a current customer. Customers will remember the experience they had with you and it can make a big difference in their future buying plans. Are they going to come back to you? Are they going to recommend you to a friend or even post about their amazing/very poor buying experience on Twitter or Facebook for the world to see? Be good to your customers. They have many buying choices and you would not be in business without them.
Thanks for reading!