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Source from Craigslist, sell on Amazon or eBay

Amazon & eBay merchants: 

You know what's 'hot' these days for sourcing methods:  private label, retail arbitrage, and/or wholesale (all legit methods of getting inventory). But I'm still a big fan of going 'underground' by revisiting proven sourcing methods that other sellers have largely abandoned. Craigslist (and up-and-coming apps like OfferUp and Wallapop) are still viable sourcing methods.

Before you say 'Craiglist sellers are savvy enough to check on Amazon or eBay first, so they're pricing their items too high for me to profit,' you need to a.) make a low-ball offer and (if that doesn't work) b.) keep trying!  I've seen many eBay and Amazon sellers shy away because of  a Craigslist seller's asking price. It doesn't hurt to start by offering 50% of their asking price. And there are plenty of Craigslist sellers who want to unload something quickly and they'll take whatever they can get.

Those 'classified' sites and apps (now numbering in the dozens) make it easier to make money online by finding things to sell on Amazon or eBay.

Let's talk about Craigslist. Craigslist provides an excellent source of local inventory for cheap or free, and using the Craigslist app (by Escargot Studios) makes it easy to find. With the app on your phone, you can browse for new inventory whenever you have down time, whether waiting for something to happen or simply while bored at home. The app can sometimes even be set up to alert you when listings contain specific keywords, allowing you to always know if an item that you can easily sell has been put up for sale.

Here is how to start using the Craigslist app to increase your inventory sourcing:

1. Download the app (Android | Apple). Both a free and paid version are available. Start with the free verison (the paid one is only $2.99)
2. Choose your city or cities
3. Browse to the "For Sale" section. This section counter intuitively contains both for sale and free items.
4. Browse the listings that interest you. The site breaks listings into categories to make things easy to find.
5. Do not forget to look through the 'free' section as well. You may be surprised what people simply want to get rid of (books, board games, ride on toys, etc.).
6. Check completed listings on eBay (and/or check the new/used price on Amazon) to see what people sell the identical products online for, before making an offer to the Craigslist seller.

If you want a specific item in a specific condition, the app makes this easy. Just enable keyword alerts to search for specific items. If you notice that specific items sell for more on eBay than they are sold for on Craigslist, you can make sure to catch every one of these listings. The app also allows sorting by criteria and photo availability, so that the condition of the item can be checked before ever making a call. When ready to make a call, the app allows the phone to pull the number and dial straight from the app, making the process simple and fast.

Items on Craigslist frequently sell for less money than they can be sold for online. It is a site built around convenient sales, not profitable ones, and a savvy buyer can use this to their advantage. People use Craigslist because it involves no shipping and pays quickly. A seller has to learn almost nothing before posting and gets paid in cash, no waiting for Paypal or being unsure if the buyer will pay. This ultimately means cheap items that you can profit from.

Look for some of the below items when browsing (partial list). Some Craigslist sellers want to get rid of these for space without checking the value (remember in most cases you can sell these in new or used condition on Amazon or eBay):

• Better-name brand small electrics (mixers,55555555 convection ovens, air purifiers, etc.)
• Holiday decorations (esp off-season)
• Lots of new and used clothing (remember you can't sell used clothing on Amazon)
• Vintage items (eBay only)
• Toys, including the 'ride on' variety (see the above pic as an example)
• Textbooks (ideally Amazon only) Example: This Algebra book is $2 on Wallapop, Assuming it's in 'Very Good' condition you could sell it via Amazon FBA (far within top 1% bestseller rank) for $26.

(I don't recommend using Craigslist to source popular high-demand, pricier items like Air Jordans, iPhones and major designer products, as they tend to be rife with scam artists.)

Profitable sourcing from Craigslist to resell on Amazon or eBay involves research (see #6 above). Try sourcing a product you have some knowledge of or a desire for from a 'consumer's' perspective as that knowledge gives you a leg up on other sellers. Venture out of your comfort zone as some of your most profitable sales may come from new places. On the other hand, do not take items that are in poor condition unless free. Even with a large market, items that have been abused rarely sell.

More tips before you start sourcing via sites like Craigslist:

  • Don't look at a seller's offer and stop there. One door opens another - I've heard from my subscribers who go to buy one item and they end up buying 10x more items that the seller mentions while they're there.
  • If a Craigslist seller gives you a weird feeling, move on
  • If you do in-person transactions, insist on having a friend with you. If you're going alone, meet the buyer in a well-trafficked public spot (like a fast food parking lot) during daylight with your item. Some police stations across America offer their lot or lobby for 'Craigslist exchanges' to ensure your safety
  • When you avoid used items, you join your competition by thinking it's not worth your time. Amazon and eBay sellers who use a little elbow grease to clean and/or recondition used items can do very well.
  • If you're not interested in using the Craigslist App, use IFTTT.com to get email alerts when an item you're interested in reselling is posted on your local Craigslist (tutorial here.)
  • Check sites like Craigslist often (don't get discouraged if you find nothing. New listings are popping up on Craigslist and other classified sites every minute).

Once you find any profitable product, that information is power:  Search for the same item on (say) Google's shopping search engine or even on eBay (to resell back on eBay or on Amazon for a profit.)

Good luck and keep me posted,


{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Nikolay Cherevan January 31, 2018, 7:35 pm

    Hey I just had a question, is it against Amazon’s Terms of service to resell stuff without a recipt or even with an Ebay recipt? I remmember someone telling me that they would do OA arbitrage all day if it wasn’t for Amazon potentially in contacting them and asking them for recipts to make sure that the items were legit, please let me know.

    • Jordan Malik February 13, 2018, 3:26 pm

      Sorry for the delay on this (some of the comments ended up being marked as Spam). It’s not against Amazon’s Terms of Service, but sometimes they will require that you either a.) apply to be approved in a category; or b.) show proof that you are an authorized reseller (by showing invoices). There is still plenty of selling opportunity on Amazon within other categories and products. More info on this topic here and here.

  • Kernow February 22, 2016, 8:53 am

    The basic principle pretty much applies whereever the principle of buying and selling exists, but it is a shame that Craigslist and the other sourcing sites you suggest do not work so well in the UK (Craigslist seems to centre around the more major cities rather than towns). “Offerup” just advised me the nearest offer was in Brooklyn, New York! lol! To be fair, I should add that we have “Friday Ads”, “Gumtree” and one or two others that we could potentially make use of here instead of Craigslist.

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