Back in 2004 when I first started using eBay to sell items around the house I quickly realised that anything sells on eBay.
Over the years I have read many blogs and advice sites that recommend finding a niche item to sell and go with that, the trick is finding that niche market.
I have moved from, bags, clothing, jewellery, household items, toys and games and found that they each have their pitfalls, restricting to one niche product killed my sales.
I found that unless you have lots of money to invest in lots of that niche item, then going down that route did not work for me, and part of me is grateful for not having lots of money to spend as I would still be stuck with niche items that I could not shift or would have to shift at a loss.
The thing with eBay is that yes everything will eventually sell, especially now that you have a worldwide market, but sometimes it does take time to shift stock.
Early on in my eBay career I would do a test auction of an item and find it sells really quickly, then I go and buy more of that stock and find it doesn't sell and I am stuck with stock that I cannot shift.
I learnt that just because something sells quite quickly when you first list it, does not mean that it will continue to sell that way, as you come up against competition who research eBay relentlessly looking for those items that sell, once they cotton on to a good seller they get in there and undercut, eBay is a game of survival for most.
Many sellers buy huge amounts of stock of one thing because they can get it cheaper than they would in small quantities, this works well if the item is in demand, with any selling you want a quick turnover, you don't want stock sitting around eating up your cash flow.
If you get stuck in this situation a good thing to do is come up with novel ways to get the item noticed, like bundling items or selling them in larger quantities at a discount, this shifts sock quicker than leaving it sitting in one big listing, unless they sell well anyway as a stand alone product.
The trick is to find wholesale suppliers that sell at a good cost, enough so that you can make a profit, I noticed early on that there are many people who purport to be wholesale suppliers but also sell at retail and are usually a middle man, these people also sell on eBay so you end up in direct competition with your supplier, not a good situation to be in.
I have turned into a 'Del boy' over the years and found that if I can get a good item at a good price that I know I can make a profit from, then I will stock it.
It has taken me a long time to understand what a niche item is and I have found mine, I sell used items, used items are my niche.
A good way to think about items you want to sell is to look around your own home, your house is full of items that you purchased and many other homes have the same products, find one item and do some research on the availability and cost.
I do a lot of sourcing in conjunction with our lives, for example if I want to buy a new paper shredder then I will look at shredders to buy in bulk, sell and make a profit and also get mine free in the process.
Turning hobbies into money earners is also a good way to find stock for your eBay store, if you enjoy making jewellery or have a passion for revamping furniture or making cushions, all these hobbies can be turned into money earners on eBay.
Finding what you want to sell on eBay is probably the most difficult part about running any eBay store, as without stock you cannot sell.
Taking some time out to think about it and do some test runs is time well spent.
The nature of my business means that companies approach me for help in selling their niche items which are overstocks or they just want another outlet for their products, and of course I sell a lot for people who do not have time in selling for themselves to raise some extra cash from household goods and clothing, so my days of having to think about what I could sell are rare these days, I generally buy as I go along, using my strategy of whatever I come across at a reasonable price, or if I am in the market for a particular product anyway, it seems to work well for me.
In the past I have sold some great niche products for clients, Ride-On-Cars, Maternity Pillows, Engraved items, all of which sold in amazing quantities.
Who would have thought you could sell 20 Maternity Pillows a day, on a slow day.
It is surprising what does sell on eBay, all I can say is find a product and test it out, if you hit lucky stick with it, if you don't, move on and find something else quickly.