Know Your Markets and Earn Some Cash: Ebay vs. Amazon
Most online shoppers I know are very familiar with Ebay and Amazon. The problem is that the hardcore Ebayers are not very familiar with the Amazon Marketplace. Those faithful to Amazon third-party sellers are put off by Ebay. By carefully studying the markets of both retailers, it is possibly to not only get the best deal, but make some money in the process!
I have been homeschooling my children for 2 years now. Those that aren’t familiar probably aren’t aware of the cost of textbooks for just one year of curriculum. My daughter’s 2nd grade books would have cost over $500 from the publisher, and that is just not something we could afford. In my quest for a better deal, I hit Ebay pretty hard. I was able to get most of what I needed for about $80 during the off-season (buying in the middle of the school year for the next year.) There were, however, a few items that just weren’t being listed reasonably on Ebay.
I headed over to Amazon, and what did I discover? Various copies of the books I needed were being sold for a steal by third-party sellers. Items that I had won on Ebay auctions for $10-12 were being sold for a couple of bucks on Amazon. A static shipping rate on Amazon also ensured that I wasn’t being extorted for having it mailed to me. Stiff competition among Marketplace sellers and incentive to have the lowest price by offering best placement on the site kept prices in check. Sellers were literally dumping their product.
This really got me thinking: What would stop a person from buying low on Amazon during the off-season and selling high during back-to-school time on Ebay? Nothing, and I did just that.
While Amazon certainly has its drawbacks (no photos of individual books, vague descriptions of item conditions, an unreliable volunteer feedback system), I was able to find many copies of the books months before they hit their peak demand on Ebay auctions. Books I paid $3.00 for were resold at 500% profit and more! After shipping, Ebay fees, and Paypal fees, I was seeing some serious cash. To further sweeten the deal, I was quick to use my Amazon card for my Marketplace purchases to earn 3% back and my Paypal card for the shipping labels on my Ebay sales to get 1% back. While some items without detailed condition descriptions came to me in less-than-great condition, I was able to throw those undesirable items in with a nice lot to keep them moving at a profit.
Textbooks are just one of many specialty markets that this method could work for. Any product with a seasonal peak, mass production, and a niche consumer group would work well to buy low and sell high. Take time to learn the market, and you can save a bundle or even make some extra cash!