If you resell on an online platform, finding unique and cost effective inventory can be challenging, especially when trying to buy inventory using a small budget.
Reselling generally involves purchasing inventory in the following ways:
Retail to Resell
Each method comes with its own headaches, but knowing what to avoid can assist in better decisions that will help stretch your inventory dollar.
There are hoards of wholesalers out there, ready to accept your money, but before you get ready to pull out the plastic, do some due diligence.
DO A CUSTOMER REVIEW SEARCH
Complete web searches and find reviews for the companies you're looking to purchase from. One or two disgruntled customers may post a bad review, but if a site is a quality site, those reviews will not terribly hurt the business' ratings.
2 people, giving 4.8 star company a 2 star review, will not overwhelmingly hurt the rating of the company.
Overall you want to ensure that the star rating of the company is up to your standards and you want to ensure that the company has enough ratings to provide a realistic picture of the actual experience.
Don't trust a 5 star site with 2 reviews. These may be actual customers reviewing for a very small business or they could be the cousins of the business owner. It's online, so we really don't know.
When it comes to your money, stick with businesses that have a proven track record. You're free to take chances when you have a little money to waste.
When searching for reviews, the best sources to trust are Google, Yelp and Facebook, etc. (well-known sites). There are also other sites like TrustPilot or SiteJabber that provide a forum for customer reviews.
For the best idea of an overall average rating, Compile all the reviews you can find from reputable sources and calculate the overall average score.
STAY AWAY FROM SITES THAT AREN'T SECURE
When looking at the wholesalers' web page, take note of the icon in the url bar. If the icon doesn't look like a little closed lock, do not purchase from the site.
A reputable site will want their customers to know that transactions are safe and they will take the steps to ensure that they offer products on a safe and secure platform.
A company that doesn't take the time to do the simple task of ensuring a secure site will not take the time to ensure that they meet your purchase expectations.
It's understandable that a new or smaller site doesn't have the same resources as a bigger company, but the cost to secure is low enough for this to be unacceptable.
Pictures can be deceiving (we're familiar with Instagram, right?), for this reason, never eyeball the fabric in a picture, always read the description to find out the measurements and the fabric.
Even after taking the steps of reading the description, you may find that some garments received aren't exactly what you expected, but you at least provide yourself with some level protection against being completely surprised.
You'll have a more realistic frame of reference and you won't find yourself looking for something that feels like cotton, if you've already read that the fabric is polyester.
A reputable site will offer size charts and product descriptions. You may not be able to obtain the exact fabric percentage, but you'll at least know what the fabric is.
ASK FOR SAMPLES
Many wholesalers offer samples. Some charge a fee and some will send samples for free. If you want to ensure that the company meets your quality standards, get samples to verify the quality of the company's inventory.
Search your local listings to see if there are wholesalers in your area. You may be surprised to find that there are businesses in your area that sell the type of inventory you're looking for.
Along with having a better opportunity of visiting the factory, this lends an opportunity for you to save money in the long run by cultivating a relationship with the manufacturer. Businesses are willing to be a little more flexible with local buyers.
WHAT IS THEIR SPECIALTY?
There are wholesalers that sell handbags, but the bulk of their inventory is shoes. Or maybe the company sells shoes, but the bulk of their inventory is clothing.
If you're selling apparel, purchase from a clothing wholesaler, and if you're wanting to sell shoes, buy from a shoe wholesaler.
When a wholesaler has a limited selection of an item, that item is considered to be a little more rare and in turn will be more expensive on the site.
Think of Amazon for example; when there's 50 of the same shirt available, the item might be $20, when the amount available falls to 5, the price goes up to $50. This is just an example of course, but this is a good picture of how the retail industry works - and wholesale is no different.
Stick to sites that specialize in the items you want to sell. The items will have a lower purchase price and you will have more selection.
Reselling is finding cheap new items to resell for a profit. This practice usually involves finding discounted tagged items to resell for higher than the purchase price, but lower than the tag price.
Finding these types of items takes a little more planning, but also offers the opportunity of having more selection in your online store. If you're selling on a site like Poshmark for example, more selection makes your closet appear to be a little more established.
There are a few tricks to buying retail to resell
Search for "Sick stores"
Focus on Clearance
Use Less Traveled Sources
Buy in Bulk
This is an "Old School" tactic (I learned it from my great-grandmother), but it still works very well today and will continue to work as long as retail exists. Buying off-season is the act of buying items after the season for the item has passed.
In other words, if you want to save on a winter coat, buy it in the summer. If you want to buy a swimsuit, buy it in the winter. Once the season for the items has passed, the store is essentially trying to get rid of it.
It's not like pulling out your sweaters when the cold weather breaks, instead in the retail world, it is now out of date, out of season and will be pulled off the shelves if there's no return.
Patience and planning is key when using this method, but once you get used to it, it may turn out to be the only way you shop.
SEARCH "SICK STORES"
Sick stores are stores that are going out of business and have sales with deep discounts in hopes of liquidating inventory before the doors close.
Many times, these stores still have active websites where you can find exclusive deals and discounts. This method is a great way to stock up on inventory or more current styles, but note, size selection will be more scarce as the store is no longer restocking sizes.
FOCUS ON CLEARANCE
If you've signed up for email updates and coupons from retail stores, a good method for finding inventory is to stay up to date on the sites promotions and keeping an eye on the clearance filter.
This is one of the best ways to find higher priced, luxury items that yield a higher return. A company that's still in business will eventually mark those prices back up.
Once this occurs, you can swoop in and sell the item for more that what you purchased it for, while selling it for less than what the store is selling it for. If the item is a hot ticket item, this makes for a much faster sell.
USE LESS TRAVELED SOURCES
Tons have heard of auction sites like GoodWill or state surpluses, but not many know that NWT (new with tag) items can be found at 2nd hand locations like these. Along with auctions, there are also estate sales, Craigslist or Facebook.
With a keen eye, you can scope out these sources to find great deals which will yield a even higher return because you paid less than what you would have paid in a store or on a website.
BUY IN BULK
Another way to get inventory, is to buy returns from liquidators and close-out centers. If you're working with a tight budget, this can be a little tricky as you don't have a say over what you receive and the cost for shipping along with the purchase can be steep.
But if your inventory will allow, you can make a large return by purchasing items that have been returned by customers. Many of these items are still popular and provide opportunities for substantial returns.
The downside to this method is getting an item that was already worn or is damaged. But on the upside, the return for the in-tact items is usually much greater than the loss.
Last but not least, buying second hand. Over the last few years, the reselling market has been flooded with buyers going to thrift stores to resell name brand items for a profit.
What's the saying? "One man's trash is another man's treasure?"....Well it's a true statement and lot's of money is made every year across the globe on this concept.
When purchasing second hand, you already have half of an idea of what you're getting into. You already know that there's a chance of the item being flawed and you already know that you'll probably have to do some mending or cleaning.
So, knowing these issues already, there are some things you can do to minimize your chances of buying an item that will end up going straight to the trash...
COMPLETE THOROUGH INSPECTIONS
The best rule for dealing with second hand is to conduct thorough inspections at the time of purchase.
There are no returns in the second hand world, so you'll want to make sure you don't waste your money buying a name brand shirt that ended up having a huge hole in the sleeve.
UNDERSTAND THE VALUE
You'll want to understand the value of an item before you purchase. There's nothing worse than to find a "Name Brand" item that you think is going to get a big return, only to find out that nobody wants it.
Now, that cool investment is a hot mess. Make sure you keep up with today's styles - stay in touch with what's current, popular and trending.
When ordering second hand online, be sure to read descriptions. As stated earlier, there isn't a return policy when buying from second hand locations. Auction sites will usually give a general description of items including any flaws, but they are not responsible for missing a flaw.
Be mindful of the risk and collect as much information as you can find about the item before purchasing. Unfortunately, there's more of a chance of getting junk in this method, but you can find really good deals - like the new Air Jordan's I found for $20 bucks.
Hopefully, this post has been helpful in showing tips and alternative ways to buy inventory. With some planning and awareness of the current market any budget can be stretched to get more inventory for your buck.
Thank you for visiting,