Since starting this blog, I have had more questions about LCD TVs than anything else.
I’ve reviewed several suppliers, but I’m going to defer once again to Liquidation.com. They currently have over 323 auctions for LCD TVs. The lots range from $50 for 1 Magnavox 52″ HDTV to $3000 for 100 Sharp LCD displays.
They also have plasma tv auctions, but they’re not nearly as popular as LCD. At this moment, there are only 89 auctions for plasma tvs, but you can check them out here.
As always, do your homework before buying anything at any site I recommend. Liquidation.com is a reputable site, but they also deal with other sources for wholesale products. Remember that you may not always be dealing directly with Liquidation.com. And also remember to research the products you’re buying. Are they refurbished, salvaged, returned, or brand new? Is there a warranty? Be tough with your questions. If the supplier doesn’t give you straight answers, or you just get a bad vibe, you’re better off walking away.
I’m betting that in a few years, retailers start having a “black thanksgiving week” sale, just to drum up more business and get more consumers to beat each other up over a free remote control.
Well, Amazon is starting today with their Black Friday Sale.? Fortunately, you don’t have to drive, park, OR wait in line.? I checked it out, and there really do seem to be some good deals.? Like a Leatherman for $13, or a compound mitre saw for $140 (hint hint…), and DVDs are 50% off.? Take a look to see if there’s anything you can remove from your actual black friday shopping list.
Now that we’ve decided to start a wholesale business, we need a product to sell. This post will take us through the process of determining what product to choose.
If you have any ideas for a product as you read this, you may want to jump over to our mind map and jot them down. Just click the link or image below. MindMap of Product Ideas
First, I want to say that the product you choose to sell should interest you. It doesn’t need to be the greatest love of your life, but you should at least enjoy learning about it. If you’re interested in what you’re selling, it will show in your business and your advertising.
Next, there needs to be some demand for your product. Preferably, a lot of demand. Basically, you should start by making a list of products you would be interested in selling. From that list, check out what’s selling on Ebay. I’m not suggesting that you market directly to the Ebay crowd, but they’re big enough that you can get a good idea of the overall market by looking at what’s hot there. A good service for researching the ebay marketplace is Terapeak.? They’ll show you pricing trends as well as average listing prices, selling prices, and how many listings result in a sale.? Go through your research and pick out the products with good sell rates.? (Ratio of listings to sales.)? This is your new short list.
* Update: You may also want to check out pulse.ebay.com for market research directly from eBay.
With the short product list in hand, we now want to research competition.? It’s great if you found a popular product.? However, if everyone and their mother is selling the same product, you should move on.? Not to be repetitive, but Ebay is still a good place to do this research.? Take your short list and search for each product on Ebay.? Note the number of listings and average prices.? You may also be able to use some of the data you got from Terapeak for this step.? At this point, you want to rank your products by highest demand and least amount of competition.? Unless a product is totally flooded with competitors, take your entire short list to the next step.
What will it take for you to start selling these products?? What is the cost per sale?? If you choose a product that requires a large initial cash outlay, you need to be that much more confident that you can drive enough sales.? Does the wholesale source require some sort of membership fee?? You’ll need to work out all of these costs for each product you plan on selling.? This will probably be the most time consuming part of your research, but it’s very important.? If it costs $1000 to get started selling a $10 product, you’re way behind before you even “open your doors”.? It’s also more time consuming because we need to include another step in this process, which is… finding a supplier.
Finding a Wholesale Supplier
You should start by taking a look at our wholesale sources page.? Even being a fairly short list, you should be able to find a source for most products from someone on that list.? As it’s been said before, SaleHoo comes highly recommended because they have a community of people that review all of the wholesale sources.? If anyone has a supplier to recommend, please leave us a comment.? I’d be happy to add quality wholesale suppliers to our list.
Now that you know the costs involved in buying your product, and you’ve done your market research, you should be able to determine what your customers would pay for your product.? If the direct cost per sale divided by the selling price is over 70%, you better have a very efficient system of marketing, advertising, and order fulfillment, or you’re not likely to realize any actual gains from this business.? When deciding on a selling price, always keep in mind that more comes out of your selling price than just the cost of the product.? You need to be compensated for your time.? You need to pay for advertising and marketing.? You may have hosting and other technology costs.? Forget about it if you have employees.? Don’t be afraid of the math on this one.? If you gloss over the details here, you’re in for a rude awakening.
This is a rather general topic, but you need to make the business as easy as possible for yourself.? You want a product that is easy to sell in that it doesn’t require pages of explanation to get someone to buy it.? You want it to be easy to ship or you’ll lose customers and profit to shipping costs.? You want it to be easy to service.? You don’t want to spend an hour on the phone walking a customer through how to use their $10 product.? It may sound harsh or too impersonal, but you really want to be as hands-off as possible.? Of course you need to have awesome customer service, but ideally, you just want your customers to be satisfied without contacting you.
I’ll be going through this process over the next few days to come up with the ideal product for me to sell.? I would really love to hear your ideas on the process so far.? I want this project to have as much community involvement as possible.? I can do the research and make the decisions, but I’d really love for someone to surprise me.
To be continued…
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As a learning experience for everyone, I’ve decided to start a wholesale business, and I’m going to document the entire process throughout the next several posts.? I will take input from all of you and we’ll build a small but well-designed wholesale business.
I don’t know what kind of product(s) I might sell, and that will be the topic of the next post.? The main steps for starting this business will be as laid out below:
1. Choose a product to sell.
2. Find a source for that product. (Part of the decision-making process above.)
3. Pick a domain name that is relevant to the product.
4. Build the site to sell the product(s).
5. Choose a way to receive payments.
6. Determine pricing. Price from suppliers vs. desired profit margin.
7. Advertise and Market our products.
8. Collect the riches.
9. Serve the customers.
I’m sure there will be many items added to that list as this project progresses.? Hopefully, there will be many comments so this can become more of a community project than simply me starting yet another website.
If you’re interested in following along, I encourage you to subscribe to my RSS feed.? That way, you’ll get each step of the process automatically delivered to your reader.? If you read a lot of blogs and you don’t know what RSS is, I suggest you find a reader/aggregator that you like and start subscribing.? (Starting with the SellWholesale blog wouldn’t be such a bad thing.)
I think I’ve found a very good wholesale source for many of you readers! SaleHoo.com is similar to Liquidation.com or GlobalSources in that they list many other wholesale sources. However, SaleHoo.com is built on a community of users that comment on and review all of the wholesalers. Actually, the moderators at SaleHoo.com even secretly purchase from the suppliers so they can write their own reviews. **Update: Information added about the SaleHoo Research Labs below. This is a new feature that you’re going to love!
1. What is SaleHoo.com?
SaleHoo.com is a members-only directory of wholesale sources. They have thousands of wholesalers, drop shippers, liquidation companies, and manufacturers that you can purchase from directly.
2. Member’s Forum
A great feature of being a SaleHoo member is that you can ask the community for advice before you make a purchase from any of the suppliers. You can ask questions about suppliers, products, or even the quality of products coming from various countries. With this safety net, you can be more confident that you won’t get scammed or ripped off. And as always, if you have any other questions, you could always leave it in the comments here. I love to help out other small business owners. (And those hoping to get into online business.)
Update: What is the SaleHoo.com Research Labs?
The Research Labs section is a great new addition to SaleHoo, because it helps take some of the guesswork out of choosing a product to sell. You can enter a keyword and the research labs will give you a ton of great information about that product. The information is geard toward selling on ebay, and they give you information such as Average Sale Price, Sell-Through Rate, Best day to end your auction, most common auction duration, and a rating of how much competition you’ll face. They also have charts where you can compare sales numbers of different products against each other. This tool is a great start for any of your product research.
I’d like to include more information in this review of SaleHoo.com, but they have a sales page that really lays it out for you. After you’ve skimmed the sales page and testimonials, I highly recommend the 3-minute tour. They have blue links every so often on their sales page. Just click one of those to review the highlights of the site.
I’ve had many requests for information on wholesale cell phones and cell phone accessories.? While it might be tough to compete with the major cell phone providers, you still might be able to find a great deal on cell phones or accessories.
The first source I found was LightInTheBox.com.? I’ve had a few people ask whether LightInTheBox.com was a scam, but unfortunately, I haven’t been able to verify them one way or the other.? If anyone has had an experience with LightInTheBox, please leave us a comment about your experience.
LightInTheBox.com is a wholesaler of products made in China.? The nice thing is that they offer a wide range of unique products.? The drawback is that most of the products aren’t name-brand.? Another good thing is that their minimum order for some products starts as low as 1 item.? Unfortunately, their prices are nearly as high as retail.? Honestly, as I review more of their products, I’m becoming much less impressed.? Specifically, they offer the “HiPhone” which is an iPhone knockoff.? This phone is clearly a total ripoff of the iPhone, so I have to question if there’s copyright infringement going on here.? The screenshots are either pictures of an actual iPhone, or they copied the design so perfectly (and used the same graphics on the phone), that you can’t tell the difference.? I didn’t mean to spend so much time on this product, but this product alone makes me question the legality of the entire site.? I would be very interested to hear if anyone has experience with this site.
Another source for cell phone accessories is CellularOutfitter.com.? They seem to actually have partnerships with the major cell phone brands.? The prices for their accessories seem reasonable, but still on the high side to be calling them “wholesale”.
If you’re looking for Micro SD cards or adapters, this is NOT the place to get them.? Their wholesale prices are over $20 for most cards.? You can find 2GB Micro SD cards with multiple adapters for less than $10 on TigerDirect.com or NewEgg.com.? Please do not patronize the major cell phone companies that are selling these things for $30 or $50.? That’s ridiculous!
After this bit of research, I’m going to go with what I expected to say in the first place.? If you want to buy cell phones at prices cheap enough to resell, you’ll have to strike a deal with the manufacturer or one of their authorized distributors.? All of the prices I’ve seen are ok if you want to get yourself an unlocked cell phone at a decent price.? However, if you’re really looking to sell cell phones, don’t expect to easily find a source online.
The moral of the story is that you absolutely must not buy accessories at the cell phone provider’s store.? (ie, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T…)? The markup is absolutely outrageous and you’d just be throwing your money away on an impulse purchase.? If you want cell phone accessories on the cheap, the sites above should be enough to get you started.
With halloween right around the corner, many merchants need to restock their halloween costume inventory.? Unfortunately, it might be a little late for this post.? Halloween is less than a month away, and any wholesale orders probably won’t be fulfilled for a few weeks.? Unless you have a retail location and you’re running out of costumes, you may want to bookmark this post to get ready for next year.
I found a list of halloween costume suppliers at GlobalSources.com.? The two main suppliers seem to be HuaMin and Leadtex Clothing.? In total, there are just over 100 halloween costume items available for sale.? There’s a good mix of full costumes, small masks, and latex masks.? You won’t find the “brand-name” costumes, but there is a nice selection of generic costumes and masks available.? If you’re looking to get started selling halloween costumes, this may be a good place to start.
A friend of mine is having a Halloween party and said she had to buy a ton of candy. I figured I’d take a look around to see if there were any good sources of wholesale candy online.
I started by searching for “wholesale halloween candy” but was quickly disappointed. It looks like there are many “wholesale” candy distributors, but they all had 2 problems.
1. Their websites are terrible. Coming from a web development background, that’s the first thing I see when I visit a site.? I realize that might not have anything to do with how good their business is, but it’s my first impression and so far it’s all been bad.
2. The prices really aren’t that great.? One site had 48 Snickers bars for $41.? That’s barely below retail, if at all.? You can go to any grocery store and buy regular candy bars for a dollar.? After you add shipping, the deal gets even worse.
I was surprised to find that Amazon.com had a listing for 48 Snickers bars for $28.80.? The shipping is $7.50, but we’re still well below $1 per bar.? It was an Amazon storefront run by “TheOnlineCandyShop”.
It appears that a quick search on Amazon can find just about any candy you’re looking for, at wholesale prices.? I’d love to say I knew of a small business website that could provide good prices for wholesale halloween candy, but so far, I’d say go to Amazon and search there.? Fortunately, most of the products you find are offered by individuals or small businesses with storefronts on Amazon.
I was hoping to save this post for October, but I hope it helps for those of you who are stocking up on Halloween candy.? If you know of a better source for wholesale candy, please let us know in the comments.? I’d be happy to give them a link.
When I was in the wholesale sunglasses business, I briefly looked into having custom glasses manufactured from China.? However, a few people I talked to recommended Taiwan because they said the quality was better.? They said if I was looking for lower prices, go China, but if I wanted better quality, go with Taiwan.? I received some samples from companies in each country.? In my small sample, the Taiwanese samples felt slightly more solid than the Chinese ones, but I’d really like to hear what you think about this.
Let’s pose this question in two scenarios:
1. If you were having a product manufactured, what country would you use?
2. If you were buying a truckload of wholesale merchandise, what country would you use?
If you have a preference, please post it in the comments and let us know why you made your choice.