For years I have been buying goods below market value on eBay because there’s a mistake in the listing, for example, or someone has just listed the item Buy It Now and I am the first to spot the item being offered way below the price I will make when I relist it on eBay.
But so far I have ignored the fact that members of countless other websites offer high value goods at a tiny fraction of their resale value, and in most cases goods are selling at these sites for much less than I would willingly pay for similar arbitrage deals on eBay.
So far I have found 20 such sites where goods really are selling for pennies on the pound, and which present more profitable arbitrage opportunities than I can ever use in my own business.
For those who don’t know, “arbitrage” typically describes the process of buying an item below market value and reselling it for profit.
Currently, my two favourite sites for buying goods below market value and reselling them at much higher prices on eBay are Etsy and Preloved. Let me tell you why.
Etsy – www.etsy.com – is not an auction site but is a good place to buy and sell craftwork items and vintage goods, including collectibles. It’s also a great place to buy goods to resell on eBay. To illustrate, a few weeks ago I saw what looked to be a photograph of an everyday soldier from Victorian times selling on Etsy. It set me back the equivalent of £2 plus postage.
When it arrived my belief was confirmed that this was not just a soldier from the ranks, but an officer from the American Civil War and potentially worth £100 plus on eBay.
The real beauty of buying vintage items on Etsy is that sales are fixed price, not auction, and if you begin every day looking for items newly uploaded to the site you’ll find some priced really low – because the seller has no idea how much their item is worth – and you are the first reseller to spot the item!
This technique can be used to locate handmade items, but it’s far more profitable for sourcing vintage goods to resell on eBay.
Try typing “Snuff Box” into the search box at etsy.com, with “vintage” as your chosen search option, and “Lowest Price” from the dropdown menu right of the screen. Look at some of the prices and then study similar items selling on eBay – you may be shocked at how much money those sellers are leaving on the table!
Tip: Study sellers of specific items offered below market value. Search their listings for more items likely to fetch higher prices on eBay. Then ask for a discount for buying in bulk. I’ve done this several times on Etsy and I have never been refused.
#2 – Preloved
At www.preloved.com I discovered people offering potentially very valuable items at low prices, ranging from antiques and collectibles, through to mass-market goods and sometimes big bundles of goods for dismantling and listing separately on eBay.
Goods are usually offered in bundles because the vendor wants a fast sale and has no idea how much his items might fetch listed separately on eBay. I’m willing to bet each of those 70 photos will fetch between £2 or £3 and maybe £10 or £20 or more for rarer images.
However, by far my favourite thing about Preloved is that members can place “Wanted” ads for goods to resell later on eBay.
Now let me reveal why I like this idea so much. It has to do with the fact that years ago I placed wanted advertisements similar to this one in local newspapers and I was swamped with offers. Just one advert each week in a local newspaper provided all the paper collectibles I needed to run a roaring trade selling at flea markets and collectors’ fairs.
Now imagine how much more money I might have made from an advertisement targeting many thousands more suppliers on websites like Preloved.com.
So there’s the idea, and it doesn’t have to be collectibles you place wanted ads for on Preloved. In fact you can place wanted ads for virtually any product that will subsequently resell on eBay.
Give it a try!
This article first appeared on Auction Genie. Read more and comment here