If you’re hoping to start an Amazon business or expand the one you’ve already been building, inventory sourcing is key. Where do you get goods to sell that are both in demand and offer you a decent margin of profit? Fortunately, there are several sources you can turn to for selling inventory on Amazon.
Thrift Stores and Local Sales
If you have a smaller shop and you’re not looking to move products in bulk, you can often find great inventory in your own community. Hit your local thrift stores, yard sales, and the clearance racks at your favorite stores. You might be surprised to see how much you can make by purchasing these items at retail and then marketing and selling them on Amazon.
To go this route, you have to be very familiar with your product category and have an innate sense of what will and won’t sell. You also have to have a lot of time on your hands and a keen eye, but if you love to shop, it might just be right up your alley.
Drop-shipping is a popular way of selling online, and it can be profitable if done well. In a drop-shipping business, you contract with a wholesaler or distributor and they ship goods directly to your customers. This means you can sell products on Amazon without inventory taking up space or money.
The downside to this method is that the margins are likely to be extremely slim, and you have essentially given control of your business over to the company you’ve contracted with. This means if they mess something up, the customer service nightmare is yours and it’s your business reputation on the line. That said, if you’re looking for a completely hands-off approach to inventory, drop-shipping could be the answer.
So what about just ordering from those wholesalers and then handling the inventory yourself? It’s another option and one that a lot of businesses choose. Your margins will likely be better and you’ll have full control over customer service issues like the way goods are packaged and shipped.
Unfortunately, wholesalers tend to have minimum order thresholds. This means you’ll have to order a large number of each product you choose to sell, and if they don’t move as you expected, you could find yourself sitting on inventory taking up space and capital. If you go this route, be sure to thoroughly check every item you purchase to give yourself the best chances at moving items quickly.
Private-label goods are a great way to make a name for your brand. With this method, you buy generic goods, put your own branding on them and resell. This can be a lot of fun and very exciting should you encounter your branded items while out and about.
Of course, private-label goods are also sold in bulk, so the same difficulties occur as when buying from wholesalers. You also have the added complexities of actually creating your own brand and marketing it properly. You’ll have to do everything from scratch, from logo design to product photography. This will cost you extra and may be an endeavor best suited to a brand with an established identity and a team of support staff.
Finally, liquidation auctions are a fun and exciting way of building an inventory. When retailers and eCommerce stores have excess inventory or want to unload returned products, they often liquidate these goods through online auction sites such as B-Stock. If you’ve ever seen the tv show, Extreme Unboxing, you know a little bit about this. Auction buyers can get pallets or even truckloads of brand name items for pennies on the dollar. They can then turn around and resell these items at a profit through Amazon, eBay, Poshmark, or other sites.
One key consideration when looking into liquidation auctions is that you must ensure you’re purchasing from a trustworthy seller. It’s also vital that you carefully read the manifest details on each auction lot so you know exactly what you’re bidding on as some may include broken or damaged items. But if you do your research, you can turn quite a profit by reselling liquidated goods from big brands like Walmart, Home Depot, and Wayfair.
No matter where you choose to source your Amazon inventory, be careful to do your homework first. Research the seller you’re purchasing from as well as the goods you’re buying. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a warehouse full of products that you can’t move! If you’re looking for inventory to sell on Amazon, start with B-Stock!
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