From: Steve Lindhorst, Online Seller, eCommerce Consultant, and Author
Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Dear Fellow Seller,
There’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, you’ve sold on Amazon, eBay or both.
I’ve sold on eBay and Amazon for many years. So long in fact, that I was just going through the motions. Buying (used books in my case) and selling them.
Sales would slow to a crawl during certain months of the year. But I just kept plodding along.
Finally, I shook the “dust” off my brain – and decided to re-think everything. I went back to square one.
By putting together three simple things, I figured out how to get out of that rut.
Then I wrote everything down so you can do it too.
After reading it, you’ll be able to:
- Predict sales, so you can get profitable inventory, at the
lowest cost – all year long. No matter what you sell.
- Predict when the demand will be high, so you can sell your inventory for the
best prices – all year long. No matter what you sell.
And it doesn’t matter if you sell on eBay or Amazon.
It all boils down to timing. Let me start at the beginning…
Sounds like a no-brainer right? But I realized that having lots of books listed for sale wasn’t profitable if people weren’t buying books.
At eBay University, we used to teach people to ‘sell what they had a “passion” for.’ Well, that might keep the seller interested, but it’s no guarantee shoppers will be equally “passionate.”
Despite any “passion” I may have felt for used books – sales were up and down.
How an Electric Jar-Opener Changed My Life…
Late last summer I walked into my local Rite Aid store to pick up some medicine. There were a bunch of Black & Decker© electric jar openers on an endcap marked 75% off.
A quick search online showed me that I could earn a nice profit by buying these jar openers at their clearance price of $9.99 each. So I bought all they had.
That first batch sold on Amazon within a week. Each one sold for over five times my cost! Nearly $50.00 a piece!
Did I have a “passion” for electric jar-openers? Ummm, not really. But I sure had a passion for profit like that!
Pretty soon I realized that every Rite Aid store in my area had the same clearance sale. So I drove around and bought all the jar openers I could find. By the time I was through I’d found several dozen at $9.99.
They’re all sold now, and I never sold one for less than $44.00 – and some went as high as $62.00!
That first profitable experience made me realize I’d been in the right place at the right time.
Clearance sales let you put the greatest distance between your cost and your selling price. That’s your profit margin, and it puts you in a powerful position as a seller..
A large margin means you keep more money when you sell. On the other hand, you have room to lower your prices if necessary (without losing money).
So I started looking for clearance sales. I started buying and selling all kinds of things. And it was way easier than selling used books.
Instead of being a “treasure hunter,” hoping to
find used things good enough to sell, you can find
brand-new merchandise at
50%, 70% and even 90% off!
I was buying brand new merchandise on sale and selling it online for full price! All from local retailers in my own town. It seemed too easy.
Buying and selling a wider variety of products improved my sales…but often I only learned of clearance sales after they’d already been picked over.
Sometimes I’d be on one side of a store – blind to the fact that there was a great sale going on in another department – of the same store!
Randomly stumbling upon clearance sales was too unpredictable.
I needed to figure out how to make sure I was
in the right place, at the right time – for the big discounts.
Then, I had one of those “a-ha!” moments while
shopping at an “After-Christmas” clearance sale…
There is an “after-Christmas” clearance sale every year. It’s expected. We all know the holiday season is part of an annual sales cycle.
I look forward to that annual sale, and you should too! Why?
Because we know we can pick up inventory at 50% to 90% off the regular price. It’s a great opportunity!
But…Christmas is Just One of Many Annual Retail Sales Cycles
I was so focused on being a “bookseller” that I was missing something obvious. Almost all products have their season each year.
Look at an example of a product totally unrelated to the Christmas season. Generally speaking, it’s not a very exciting product. – Humidifiers.
Demand for humidifiers rises during the winter. After a peak in December, the demand for humidifiers bottoms out from April through October.
See for yourself. Illustrated below is the actual annual sales cycle for ‘humidifiers’:
Let me ask you:
Which month would be the best to buy humidifiers for resale?
From the chart you can see that demand drops heavily in the spring. As demand drops, stores move them out. So prices are heavily discounted, and BANG! that’s the best time to buy!
Just as the sales cycle shows when demand (and prices) drops – it also shows us when demand is high.
So you can see the best time to sell to make the most profit.
Maximum profit depends on timing.
There are reasons for discounts. Stores don’t stock products just to put them on clearance.
So then, why are small appliances (like the jar-openers in my story) marked down
in late summer?
Consider these facts:
- March: New models are released at huge kitchen appliance trade shows. So, suddenly last year’s model is…well, “last year’s” model.
- June: Most weddings in the U.S. are held in June. So that leads to a lot of small appliance sales May-June for wedding gifts. (Consequently, since most weddings are in June, most anniversaries are also in June – so, more sales for gifts.)
- August: As the wedding season ends, and the holiday shopping season nears, stores must make space for new models.
How do they do it? – Summer Clearance Sale!
Next March, the cycle will start all over again…
“You Make Your Money When You Buy”
As anyone in real estate or the stock market knows, buying at the right time is the key to making money. It’s no different for us as online sellers.
You will make more money if you:
- Predict which products will be marked-down.
- Pinpoint the best time to buy your inventory for resale.
- Beat your competitors to the good merchandise.
Here’s a question I had when I started:
“If retail stores are getting rid of this stuff,
will I be able to sell it?”
Let’s look at another personal experience:
When baseball season begins, stores mark baseball equipment down. They know that serious baseball players already have their equipment by then. Merchandise sitting on the shelves will just collect dust.
So, early last spring I stopped by my local Walmart. Just inside the store was a rolling rack with a hodge-podge of items and a big “Clearance” sign. On that rack I found a dozen or so packs of Wilson© baseball helmet decal kits for 50¢ each (total cost about $6.00).
Over the next couple of months, I sold them for…
well, here is an average order (customer’s personal information removed):
These decal kits sold for over $10.00 each, totalling over $120.00!
(Not bad for a $6.00 investment, right?)
Please don’t misunderstand me – I’m not bragging. Anybody can do this. It’s all
Here’s another example: Last February, all the big family dinners and gift-giving was over for the season. So what else do you think might be marked down?
I went into a local store and headed straight for the kitchen products. I found several sets of steak knives on clearance for $10.99 at a local store.
After some quick research with my Smartphone I bought them all. But would they sell?
Here’s another screenshot of an average, actual order:
That’s a profit of $50 on each set,
after subtracting costs and seller fees!
And since this store’s clearance prices are set at a central office. I found sets on
clearance at each location I visited! And I’ve had no trouble selling them at full price.
To Sum Up, the ’3 Simple Things’ are:
- Sell anything that’s profitable
- Buy profitable inventory at the very best time: clearance sales
- Predict clearance sales by identifying the many annual sales cycles
- Clearance sales – lead to – Profit.
- Clearance sales – are – Predictable.
Conclusion: Profit is Predictable
So I sat down to plot out the entire year. I researched the annual sales cycles and trends and figured out which products are marked down through the year – month by month.
The market dictates how much people will pay for any product. So you can’t control that. But you can control your cost for inventory. By lowering your costs, you increase your profit margin.
Imagine having a month-by-month guide to show you when certain products are marked for clearance. Add to that, store reward programs, and manufacturer coupons – and you can get new inventory, dirt cheap, and sell it for full price online.
You don’t have to just imagine it…
I’m happy to introduce my new book:
Retail Flipping :
Uncovering the Secrets to Flipping Retail Products for Big Profit – by Finding the
Best Time to Buy
There is a ton of information that tells you what to buy. This book is different.
Retail Flipping helps you to take a fresh look at online selling. It teaches you how to lower your costs, and increase your profit margin.
The result is consistent and profitable online sales – no matter where you sell.
7 Ways “Retail Flipping” Will Help You:
- “Does it matter if I sell on eBay, Amazon, or if I use Amazon’s FBA program?”
- No, the ideas found in “Retail Flipping ” are universal for any marketplace. However, as an Amazon seller, I do recommend Amazon FBA as my personal favorite.
- “Do I have to have a Smartphone to use this information?”
- Although it’s not required, it is highly recommended. You will make very profitable discoveries, and better buying decisions by having the ability to connect to the Internet.
- “Does the information apply to countries outside the United States?”
- Yes. Although the dates and holidays may vary, stores still have annual cycles that you can cash-in on. If you have ever seen a clearance sale in your area – this information will help you too.
Read these reader reviews:
Chris Green, Founder of FBA Power, and Host of FBA Radio says:
“Retail Flipping is a natural evolution on Steve’s previous books.
The information is beneficial in several ways. First, as the title implies, it helps you identify the best time to buy products for resale. It also compliments this with information about the best time to sell your items in order to get the best price.
By simply by being smart about when you buy and sell, you can can outwit, outsmart, and outEARN your competition. This business is all about margin, and by applying the principles laid out clearly in his book, you can increase your margins by either lowering your costs, increasing your sales price, or both.”
Online Entrepreneur, Stuart Turnbull says:
“Buy low and sell high” has always been the mantra for success in business, but how do you know when to buy to get the lowest price and equally important when to sell for maximum profit?
Steve Lindhorst’s new book Retail Flipping provides a simple method that anyone can use to predict these all-important price peaks and troughs so that we can time our buying and selling activity for optimum reward.
Copiously illustrated and packed with real life examples Retail Flipping is an excellent addition to the online (or offline) reseller’s armoury.”
eCommerce expert, Skip McGrath
“Retail Flipping is another excellent book from Steve Lindhorst. Just when you thought that everything about online marketing had been written, along comes one of the most thoughtful and insightful books I have seen in the past couple of years.
I have long said “you make money when you buy, not when you sell.” Steve takes that point and breaks it down into meaningful segments and shows you why and how to find the best time to buy low and then sell high.”
Reader Daniel J says:
“I just purchased and read through ‘Retail Flipping.’
I’ve already purchased 2 other books about selling retail items through FBA. So I was hesitant to buy another one. However, after reading it, I think you could have charged 4 times as much!
The information is INCREDIBLY practical and thorough. For those outside of the U.S. that are interested, do yourself a favor and buy it!
The book is not just focused on “what sells when” (though there is an extensive guide to this near the “back” of the book. Much of it focuses on HOW to do this and HOW to make the most money. I highly recommend it! I learned a LOT that was not available in other books…“
“Thanks again for the no-fluff, practical and useful material. I really appreciate it!”
NOTE: You’ll see a download link on the receipt page
- this IS NOT a print book, it’s an eBook.
You can get started today!