Ed. note: This type of product sourcing can be very profitable, so don't dismiss it until you try it!
U.S. consumers are living in a "throwaway" economy. This means that we buy lots of 'stuff', use it for a little while, and then replace it with other 'stuff'.
Example: children constantly demand popular toys and games. They get the toy, play with it for a short while, lose interest and then put it away.
Purchasers of those toy (e.g. parents) end up giving them away or selling them for far below their used value. Those toys typically end up at yard sales, garage sales, thrift stores, estate sales, or on Craigslist or eBay.
Fortunately, this is where smart Amazon and eBay sellers like us can make a huge profit.
In fact, this revenue stream is so reliable even this multi-millionaire does it to show you that it works:
"Garage sale to eBay conversion has the biggest margins in the world... [Anyone] could make $1,000/week" - Gary Vaynerchuk
See, used toys and games are generally "out of production" (OOP). Meaning they're no longer manufactured, making them much more difficult to find in stores. Rarely is there a convenient match between owner and consumer in the 'local' market. So buyers turn to eCommerce giants like Amazon or eBay to find a specific toy. These large online platforms create a place where demand meets supply. Thus, a toy that was worth next to nothing in the local market can now fetch anywhere from $15 to $150 (or more) online.
For nearly a decade, I've made a very profitable business out of sourcing and selling these 'forgotten' toys and games on platforms like Amazon and eBay. (Yes, you can sell most used toys on Amazon. When listing the condition you have to select 'collectible', not used.)
Here are just a few reasons why I love sourcing used toys locally (just like this other millionaire entrepreneur, who has a whole team to do it):
1. The market is nearly untapped. Many competing sellers are reluctant to roll up their sleeves (it's too 'dirty' for them).
2. Higher profit margins. Many OOP toys can be found 'new in package' which means a higher margin of profit for you.
3. The toys do not have to be perfect. If your toy is incomplete, there is a market for that too. Pieces or parts of many toys are sold on eBay (and sometimes on Amazon).
4. Out-of-pocket expenses are minimal and inventory is abundant. Used toys can often be purchased for just a fraction of the original cost and can be found just about anywhere.
5. Used toys sourcing can be 'scaled' online. Placing an 'item wanted' add on free sites like Craigslist or Facebook can help bring toys to you. Or use this free site to alert you when a toy (or just toys in general) or listed on Craigslist locally.
6. Help is easy to find. If you want help cleaning, testing or inspecting the toys, you can easily enlist a friend, neighbor or relative to help you.
7. This market will remain largely open. Few homeowners are willing to do the work required to sell these toys online themselves. This means more profit for savvy sellers like us. And every day, families are buying new toys that they end up giving away again, contributing to your endless cycle of available inventory.
So how can you get started sourcing used/new profitable toys? Here are some ideas:
1. Start with your friends. Ask 5 of your friends (local or through social media), if they have unwanted games or toys in their home. Chances are that you'll end of with boxes of items that they are more than happy to part with. They might even ask some of their friends to do the same (which results in more inventory for you.)
2. Keep an eye on trends. Once you start selling games or toys, make sure to keep a list of which items sell quickly. Take that listt and figure out how you can 'get more' Another method is to search Amazon for games or toys in 'collectible' condition that are selling for an unusually high price, and then find the equivalent on eBay.
3.) To find more profitable used toys, search online for "hot toy" lists of previous years. This will help you find toys that were hot during holiday seasons but have likely been forgotten since. Odds are high that homeowners' are looking to get rid of these items.
Now, take your list of these toys and "source more" via:
a) Local thrift stores (Free directory near you: thethriftshopper.com)
c) If Amazon is your primary selling platform, try finding the same toys on eBay. Generally speaking, you can find a higher selling price on Amazon than you can on eBay.
d) If eBay is already your primary platform, look for the item on eBay that is poorly represented(blurry pictures, confusing or missing descriptions) as these items are generally under-priced and can be purchased, received, and flipped back on eBay (or Amazon) via your own listing.
e) Search for toys free local classified sites/apps OfferUp.com or Craigslist.org. In addition to checking the 'toys' section on those sites, look for a 'free' section where homeownes are posting items that are free for pickup.
(For safety purposes, always meet any stranger you contacts in a public location and during daylight hours. Consider bringing a friend with you if you are uncomfortable.)
1.) Do your research and ensure that you can make a profit before you buy. For Amazon sellers, make sure to check the sales rank and prices for any items you wish to sell. On eBay, use the free sellers site to review the 'completed listings' of a toy to find out what it has previously sold for.
2.) For Amazon sales, ensure your the used toy is 100% complete. For toys that are missing instructions, search online to see if they can be downloaded and printed for the customer.
3.) If you are new to selling online, consider joining a seller Facebook group (like this one). You'll be able to get support/ideas from other sellers of used toys and games.
When it comes to sourcing used toys, there is unlimited potential for profit. Follow these simple tips and start crushing it!