Product Sourcing and Research Part 1

by Steve Nye, eBay Certified Consultant

eBay Live was just over a month ago, and it was a pleasure to meet some of you, as well as thousands of other eBay sellers. One question I asked just about everyone I saw was, "What do you sell?" At first the replies were interesting, but as the convention went on, they became entertaining. For example, one individual said he sold glass eyes. My first thought was, "Do you have a glass eye?" but I cordially responded with, "Where do you get glass eyes to sell?" He then explained that they were not for humans, but glass eyes for making dolls and for taxidermy, and he purchased these eyes from manufacturers in China and Europe.

Another individual said that she sold used shoes. "Where do you get your used shoes?" I asked. "Oh, at thrift stores, garage sales and other places," she said. What a source for products! But you know they say – one man´s junk is another man´s treasure!

That got me thinking. I don´t have any connections in China or Europe. I don´t particularly like the smell of thrift stores. But, if I am going to be successful on eBay, I have to 1) find a product that will sell and 2) find that product for the cheapest price possible.


Finding Products To Sell

Last week we learned how to use HammerTap to find what sells on eBay. But now that we now what sells, we need to find those products to sell. Just because we know something that sells, doesn´t mean that we can make a profit. Now we have to find the products to sell that will make a profit for us.

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Where are you getting your products to list on eBay? You can do the research and find hot-selling products, but if you can´t get your hands on them for a price that will yield a profit, what good is the research? A great product source is the second half of finding products that sell on eBay.

Here are a few tips in finding products to sell.

A One-Stop Shop
Trying to find products to sell and make a profit with often takes you on a wild goose chase, sometimes leading you halfway around the world. What you really need is a good one-stop shop. Worldwide Brands is on the top of the list for finding products to sell. They have it all, including drop shipping, light bulk wholesale directories and general wholesale directories. Each drop shipper and wholesaler has been pre-screened, helping you get the most reliable product sourcing available. Worldwide Brands is also an eBay Certified Solutions provider, meaning that eBay has checked them out and found them to be an authority in the industry. (Note: When working with outside companies within the eBay marketplace, it´s important to look into whether or not they are an eBay Certified Solutions provider.)

Searching the Internet
The Internet is a great place to start. One key strategy when searching for products is to use key phrases. Using the Internet, put together search phrases to use on Internet search pages (like Google or Yahoo!) that will help you locate vendors online.

For example, if you want to find vendors for children´s educational toys, you might use phrases like:

  • Educational toy vendor
  • Educational toy manufacturer
  • Educational toy supplier
  • Educational toy wholesaler
  • Educational toy distributor
  • Educational toy drop shipper

(Note: Anytime you use the word "drop shipper" in your search it will pull up an endless number of businesses selling drop shipper catalogues and books, most of which are not worth much.)

Also, don´t just use Google or Yahoo!. You will find in general that different search engines bring up different sites. It´s kind of like visiting different libraries. When you´re researching a topic at one library, you´re likely to find a different set of books than you would find at another library. This is true of search engines, too.

Looking for Drop Shippers
Because I am the nice guy that I am (note taken...), I have taken some time to compile a list of helpful links that will give you some sources and leads for drop shippers.


Drop-Shipping Companies Wholesale Bulk Companies


Another great place to go is Ebiz Drop Ship. You will have to join their site, but it is free to join.

Look through some of these to find the products, but look through HammerTap to find if they sell. Remember, that´s the advantage you have in using a drop shipper. You know exactly if the product they supply is going to sell and for how much. Just relax, 'cause there is no more guesswork!

Using Your Local Library
Not many people think of using the library, but it can be a great place to find product sources. Go to the reference desk and tell the librarian you want to look up products by manufacturer. The librarian should be able to point you to two or three sets of reference books you can use for this research.

Network with Local Retailers
Visit with local retailers that carry products that you have found sell on eBay. Ask the business owner if he/she would help you get in touch with vendors. If yes, then you are on your way. If not, come back later. Find the products you would like to market and get the names of the manufacturers. You can then look them up at your library and/or perhaps the Internet.


Don't Forget the Research!


So what do glass eyes, thrift stores and research all have in common? (No, this is not one of those corny kid jokes.) The key is that with eBay research, all and any product sources have potential. HammerTap gives you the advantage when it comes to finding out what are the top items sold on eBay. You no longer need to worry about taking risks because you have done the research. You know before you buy a whole semi-load of hub caps from China (which my brother did and they are still sitting in his basement) whether or not they are going to sell and how much money you can make.

Unfortunately, products go through a product-life cycle. They are first introduced to the market. Then they enter the growth stage, where profits are good and competition enters the marketplace. Afterwards the product matures and slowly begins to decline and finally, the product is no more. (Yes, in case you are wondering, I did look back to my college text to get all of those in the right order!)

Fortunately for you, HammerTap allows you to research the product-life cycle within the eBay marketplace. This means you can enter the market and exit the market with a specific product at exactly the right time. (So your basement won´t be full of hubcaps!)

But the most amazing part about HammerTap and the product-life cycle is...

To Be Continued...

(So, do you remember when they used to do this at the end of Batman and you were so mad and it just killed you with anticipation for the next day´s show? Am I getting that at all here? The worst part of it was when you forgot the next day and missed the second half and even now, years later, you are still wondering whether or not Batman made it out alive. Don´t do that in this case. Tune in next week to find out how HammerTap helps you with your product-life cycle planning!)

In the meantime, go start your product sourcing quest by checking out Worldwide Brands.


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