Last week, we expanded our selling platforms by setting up a seller account on Amazon. Now the account is set up, we need products to sell.  This week, we are going to look at the best approach to sourcing products to sell on Amazon, eBay or even eventually our own webstore.

1. Do your research

Do lots of research ahead of time; learn what consumers have been interested in and what they’re currently interested in. Find out what the hot sellers are and use the information to extrapolate for the future.

It may seem like a basic, self-evident step, but you’d be surprised at how many merchants ignore it. Tools such as Terapeak can help you discover new selling opportunities and see the hottest product makes, models, and listings. The software also lets you set revenue and margin goals and helps you build optimised listings.

Irish footballer Roy Keane, once said, “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!”. While we may not agree with everything Roy says, this is certainly one we would advise to follow when starting up in ecommerce.

2. Get by with a little help from Google Trends

Is there anything Google can’t do? In it’s short lifetime, it’s guided us across towns, countries and continents, given us the necessary information to win every bar argument and stored our emails in a simple, yet flashy, house.

And now Google is at it again with Google Trends. If you learn how to use it correctly, it can be an awesome place to source products to sell on Amazon. You’ll want to start off within your niche market to narrow things down, then play around with the four drop-down menus at the top to see how you can refine your search.

3. Shop both locally and overseas

Nobody can deny the inherent affordability of Asian-made products, as low manufacturing and overhead costs translate into low product costs. And because the populations are so large and dense, you have more than your pick of suppliers to work with. In particular, Alibaba is a favourite of merchants for its breadth, selection and ease of use.

But there’s a saying that the cheapest thing isn’t always the best-quality one, and you’ll want to make sure you’re selling products to your buyers that’ll have some durability. As well as this, shopping overseas tends to mean longer shipping times and fewer intellectual property protections than sourcing locally, so keep that in mind when spinning the globe.

4. Shop around for quotes

There’s the price you see, and then there’s the price you’ll eventually end up paying suppliers. And just like buying a car or house, they’re rarely ever the same figure. You’re a business owner now and so it’s time to learn the ins and outs of a Request For Quote (RFQ).

In your RFQ, you’ll want to specify the following points you need information on:

  • How much samples will cost
  • What the supplier’s minimum order quantity is
  • Precisely how much the products cost per unit
  • How long your order will take to get ready
  • What payment method they prefer

5. Settle on the right payment method

After you find a supplier or a bunch of suppliers and have sourced exactly what you think you’ll need, you’ll have to purchase the products. Be careful of the payment method you choose, though, as it’s not quite like going into a shop or factory, seeing what you want before selecting what you want, and then paying for it in person.

You’ll be dealing with fairly large quantities here, which means you’ll also be spending fairly large quantities of money. Depending on the bubble you have set up, one bad business deal could either leave a sour taste in your mouth or put you in a pretty deep hole.

If you shop on a site like Alibaba, then you’ll notice suppliers have different payment methods on their pages. Don’t even think about using a thirty nine and a half foot pole to touch suppliers who want you to pay with upfront TT (bank transfer) or Western Union, as the money will go straight to them and you have very little protection in case anything goes wrong. Instead, stick to methods like PayPal, escrow or a letter of credit so that if anything does go wrong, you have a bit of muscle on your side.


So, in a nutshell, that’s it!

Hopefully we’ve given you some useful ideas or how to source products to sell on Amazon and eBay. With this handy guide from SellerExpress, you’re well on your way to becoming a successful merchant.

Next time, we’ll be looking at price strategy and looking at how you should price your products and how often you should change them.