Practical Ecommerce

How To Find Products To Sell For Your Online Operation

If you want to know how to succeed at something, it’s a good idea to talk to someone who already has. Renowned eBay powerseller Skip McGrath offers some helpful insights on how you can find product sources for your online business. Once you’ve determined what you’re selling, where do you go to get the goods?

Sourcing with a pro

According to McGrath, one of the best sources for products is local distributors because they’re easy to find. Go to Liquidation.com and you can search by type. Just enter the word “wholesale” and your ZIP code and you’ll get a list of manufacturers and wholesalers within 100 miles of that ZIP code. And under the company name, you’ll see the kind of products it carries.

For traditional wholesale suppliers, like gift and merchandise manufacturers and overstock distributors, McGrath recommends several online sources:

  • Liquidxs.com helps you find surplus branded merchandise and collectibles.
  • Liquidation.com sells goods by the pallet-load.
  • Google searches — type in the product name and the word “distributor” or “wholesale.” You’ll probably have to drill down to the third, fourth, or even fifth page to find real wholesalers; the first few pages are usually jammed with middlemen claiming to have wholesale prices.
    Research the companies before you use them to make sure they are genuine wholesalers and not retailers.

“The rule in wholesaling is, the closer you can get to the manufacturer of a product, the better your price is going to be,” McGrath notes.

Alternative sources

Nearly every medium and large city in the U.S. has a merchandise mart or gift mart. They’re like indoor malls where product manufacturers have their showrooms. You can see the products and pricing, and place orders. Once you’ve registered at a mart in person, some even have online sites where you can shop the market.

These marts aren’t open to the public, and neither are the trade shows that come to your area. So to get in, you’ll need the following:

  • A sales tax number or a resale certificate.
  • A business card or letterhead that shows you’re a company.
  • A commercial checking account — they may want to see a check in the business name.
  • The good news is, once you’re registered with these marts, you’ll likely get an invitation and tickets in the mail when trade shows come to your area, which saves you the trouble of registering for each one.

Close to Home

A rather surprising source of resale merchandise is eBay itself, McGrath confides.

“On eBay and all the other online auction sites out there, you can often find tremendous bargains.” Sometimes other sellers don’t recognize the value of their goods, or they don’t photograph them well or write a good title or description.

If you know your product market and take the time to present it well, you can turn over some amazing deals in your own backyard.