It’s never too soon to think about quadrupling or further growing your profits this Christmas – or from September onwards – that is, until the last post gets picked up for guaranteed delivery before Christmas Day.
Here at eBay Confidential we look at this selling phenomenon every year, both marveling at the sheer volume of sales some sellers enjoy on eBay and on countless other online trading platforms, as well as the absolute ease with which anyone can make money from goods that sell like hot (Christmas) cakes and fetch profits that shock even seasoned festive sellers.
But to enjoy such profits, you have to start early – preferably in July or August, during which months you’ll be researching goods selling in high numbers for other people in past festive seasons and seeking ways for you to steal those other sellers’ ideas and selling techniques.
Then you make a few subtle or not so subtle changes to those other people’s products and marketing techniques to ensure you get the lion’s share of sales and profits for similar products this time round.
The sooner your mission begins, the more products you’ll have to explode your profits from early September to (around about) middle December.
So I ask you…
How do you fancy selling 1,000+ stocking filler gifts at £2 or £3 pure profit per sale, or bundles of Christmas cards costing you next to nothing and earning you a few hundred pounds each week from September onwards?
How about buying items at 10p or 20p each and adding something that turns a product hundreds of other people are selling into something only you can supply?
Doesn’t that sound good?
If so, you’ll forgive me for focusing on Christmas selling so early in the year: you’ll probably want to get started right away on the few ideas that follow.
What follows are just a sample of literally hundreds of ideas I have lined up for you over the next few months, culminating in an update of my special Christmas selling project, from which so many of you benefited last year.
Here are those few ideas for starters, all of which I have tried and found to work well:
1. My favourite seasonal money-maker is to add a box and gift tag to almost any popular product. Although it will cost you a pound or two each time, you should still charge the same price as people selling the product without the add-ons.
And, yes, you’ll be making lower profits than rival sellers, if those other sellers make any money at all once buyers see your superior offering.
For example, sell a pen, which on its own looks cheap, but with its own box looks incredibly expensive; or offer a piece of jewellery costing 10–50p at a flea market, which looks very classy in its own silk-lined gift box.
2. Buy in bulk and disassemble. Buy job lots and wholesale packages of same-theme goods from eBay’s ‘Wholesale & Job Lots’ category. So you might buy bundles of different Christmas tree ornaments and greetings cards, wrapping paper and gift tags, small toys and stocking fillers, same-fragrance soap and talcum powder, and so on.
Then you put one of each different item into your own unique bundle.
Opt for goods achieving high sales separately on eBay and which other people price, say, £10 each, suggesting £5 profit per item per sale.
That means rivals will be charging £30 for those three items sold separately and earning £15 pure profit overall. So you might charge £25 for all three items bundled, making about £10 profit per sale. As before, you’ll be earning lower profits while almost certainly out-performing rival sellers.
Increase sales by bundling products people commonly buy together, such as same-fragrance soap and talcum powder, different colour nail polishes, books of different puzzle types, and more besides.
3. Offer something to help buyers save money and time spent shopping for Christmas gifts. I’m thinking of a personalised greetings card and gift tag to accompany every gift product sale. Whatever makes life easier for buyers will generate sales.
4. Make your products unique, or at least unusual, as I did with the following product ideas:
- Hard-backed books with lined paper, costing about 50p each, which I covered with antique maps and called a ‘travellers’ log’.
- Flea-market jewellery, never costing more than £1 a pop, which went into a box covered with floral wrapping paper topped with a big shiny bow. The boxes took less than ten minutes to make and cost about 75p a time, meaning the whole ensemble cost less than £2 but attracted five times more money per sale.
- A shoebox formed the basis of one of my most popular sales on eBay last year. I covered the lid and base with a vintage map and placed a label on the lid printed ‘world stamps’. Then I poured thousands of mixed-country postage stamps into the box and described the ensemble as the perfect gift for stamp collectors.
Mixed stamps can be bought inexpensively from charities and kiloware suppliers advertising in stamp collectors’ magazines, as well as on eBay.
5. Find prints and other flat products that attract steady sales all year round. Turn each item into a Christmas card that can be turned back into a wall decoration or other useful item later and serve as a constant reminder of the person who sent it.
Last year I did this with:
- Iconic cartoon characters like Alice in Wonderland, famous historical figures including Winston Churchill and Oscar Wilde, popular cat and dog artists such as Louis Wain and Maud Earl.
You’ll have seen those subjects on prints selling all year round and priced £8 to £10 or more per unit on eBay, and sometimes attracting hundreds of sales every year.
I’m thinking of vintage dictionary pages overprinted with iconic images of Alice in Wonderland, dressed cats, famous military figures, and more besides.
Those items make very popular Christmas gifts, but imagine how much more popular they might be as the front page of a Christmas card containing instructions telling the recipient how to detach and subsequently mount and frame the front page.
- Pens – they’re something we all need and require constant replenishment. So no one will be disappointed with a Christmas card with an attractive pen fitted into a cut out on the card, or in a box glued to the front page or inside the card.
- Coasters and fridge magnets fit well into slots on the front of a card or in paper pockets glued to the inside.
6. Mix and match popular items. This serves several purposes: one of creating your own unique product and another of allowing buyers to pick and choose gifts perfectly suited to the recipient – such as cufflinks with numerous different themes to choose from, but with the same basic setting, so the end result looks intentional (as opposed to making it appear that the recipient is wearing odd cufflinks).
Photograph all the available options and allow buyers to choose themes from a drop-down menu inside your listing.
You can focus on sports in one listing, breeds of dogs or cats, or famous sayings in another, and so on over thousands of different subjects.
Then buyers can choose cufflinks featuring two different sports, the recipients’ favourite breed of dog and cat, two favourite chess pieces, topographical views of the place the groom met his new bride (and the place they are married), and so many other combinations to choose from.
As well as cufflinks, you could mix and match coasters, table mats, packs of Christmas cards and gift tags, jewellery charms, soaps, tea towels, and countless other popular items.
7. Choose products most people buy in bulk, preferably matching or with the same basic theme. This way someone liking one of your products might buy several. Think about Christmas baubles featuring different images of the same breed of dog or cat (very popular last year), or different images of a well-loved person or subject – such as heroic military figures, topographical locations, artists and cartoonists, worldwide railway stations, and so on.
That’s it for now, with a promise of more ideas to come – all of which will turn your Christmas into a very profitable and enjoyable affair.