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Do you know how many people in US are earning their livelihood with the help of eBay? According to a new survey conducted on July 2005 by ACNielsen, a leading research firm, an astounding 724 thousand Americans respond that they rely on eBay for their main or supplemental income. Apart from these professional sellers, another 1.5 million people confirmed that they generate additional income by selling goods on eBay. Last year alone, around 150 million registered users have sold over US$ 34 billion worth of goods on eBay. Isn't it amazing?
Why entrepreneurs are flocking into eBay? Some of the reasons are quite apparent.
? Starting a business on eBay is easy and quick
? You don't require large investment
? Anybody can start an eBay business, no special skill is required
? You can sell virtually anything on eBay
? With your eBay business you can have flexible work time
? You have a ready-made market of over 150 million people and counting
? eBay get 1.5 billion page views each month. You get access to this massive traffic almost paying nothing.
So, there is no wonder that anybody with slightest penchant to have their own business will jump into this great opportunity. But, there are two major problems that many of the would-be eBay sellers encounter. The first is what to sell and the next is where to find it.
What to sell?
According to Forrester Research, a major research company, this year, categories with products purchased by women will have the most growth in online retailing. Some categories are already getting more than ten percent of their overall sales through the Internet, which include: computer hardware and software, tickets, travel, books, consumer electronics, cosmetics and fragrances, toys and video games, and flowers, cards and gifts. While choosing items to sell on eBay, you should also explore the features available on eBay and other places on the Internet that show items people search and items people actually buy.
eBay has a complete section called "Seller Central" dedicated to delivering utmost information to help you succeed in selling products through eBay. Two links from this section should interest you. One is What's Hot (http://pages.eBay/sellercentral/what'shot.html) and the other one is Category Tips (http://pages.eBay/sellercentral/sellbycategory.html).
When you go to the subsection 'What's Hot', check out the following three areas:
Hot Items by Category
This is a comprehensive report of categories, and products within a category by the ratio of bid to listings growth rate in PDF format. The report gets updated monthly and shows which products have increased demand in comparison to last month. Super hot products, for example, have over 35 percentage point difference between bid growth rate and listing growth rate. According to the latest report, by the way, Sunglasses for men, in particular Prada sunglasses are super hot.
This is another area where you can see the top ten searched categories, ten most widely watched auctions, list of stores with most active listings, and other cool stuffs on daily basis.
eBay Summer Catalog
This is a new subsection. It's a real catalog with pictures and average price of products. In each category of products there is a list of top ten summer trends. You, definitely, should check this out if you are planning to start selling now.
On the page "Category Tips" under each category you will see a link under the name "In Demand". This area will show you a list of ten most sold items of this category as well as most searched items for each subcategory.
You might also like to see what people buy on non-eBay part of the Internet. The Shopping.com Consumer Demand Index (CDI) (http://www.shopping.com/CDI/cdi.cmp) makes a weekly list of most sought after items. This list could give you the needed glimpse to the future market trend!
Where to find items to sell on eBay
Your own home
If you are just planning to start selling on eBay, your first option is to go through your attic, closets and garage. Find those long stashed items that you will probably never need. These may include: books that you will perhaps never read, CDs that you out grew, gifts that you received but did not like much, the list can go on! Take them out, brush them off and post them on eBay for sell.
Flea markets and garage sales
Every body knows that garage sales and flea markets can be real treasure troves! Well, now you can look at them from a business point of view. Your sales experience with own home items, hopefully, will help you understand what will sell well and what won't. Don't go for any costly items as yet.
Local liquidators and auctions
Classified sections of local Newspapers' week-end editions are good place to look for estate auctions. While buying items from local auctions determine what are you going to buy and for what price beforehand and stick to them no matter what! At an auction there is always a risk of getting carried away!
Go visit some local business liquidators. These are excellent places to find items for bargain price.
Drop shippers (http://ezine.rusbiz.com/article/39)
When a manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor or importer, after receiving an order from their retailers, individually pack and deliver the product to the customer of the retailer with retailers address as shipper, this selling technique is called drop-shipping. This is an excellent way to find products to sell on eBay. Drop ship source directory (http://www.worldwidebrands.com/wwb/?8188) is the place to go if you are looking for drop-shippers.
eBay itself can be a great sourcing place for you. Check out wholesale items and eBay business marketplace from your chosen fields. In order to find wholesale listing, while searching a product select "Items listed as lots". You can buy goods in wholesale and then sell them piece by piece and make decent money. Of course, you have to develop good knowledge of the products before doing this.
If your business has grown and you are considering importing products to sell on eBay, read my article "Importing Products to sell on eBay" (http://ezine.rusbiz.com/article/52).
The bottom line is there was never a better time to start a business. If you feel this is really your cup of tea, just go for it!
Nowshade Kabir is the founder, primary developer and present CEO of Rusbiz.com - a Global B2B Exchange with solutions to create e-catalog, Web store, business process management and other features to run a business online. You can read various articles written by Nowshade Kabir at http://ezine.rusbiz.com.