IamA online seller who sells on Amazon and eBay for a living: AMA!
My short bio: I've been in the online retail industry since 2004-2005 where I was working for a bicycle retailer who wanted to sell online to help go through the long winters here in Québec, Canada. We sold mainly on eBay. I worked there until 2010-2011 because I wanted to do my own thing and I needed to finish my studies. In 2012, my ex-employer won eBay Canada's entrepreneur of the year.
In 2011 I started my own online business with a friend and started selling adult toys (very few people know this) because that was the only account we were able to open with a wholesaler. After about a year, we were able to open an account with Globe and Dwindle; which mainly sold us shoes, apparel, skateboards and longboards. Not too long after, my friend had to leave town for studies and I purchased his remaining part of the business.
In 2013, I finished my bachelor's degree and opened a retail store front where I could store stock from distributors. Lots of manufactures require that you have a bricks and mortar store to open an account with them.
So basically I've been selling on eBay since 2004 for my ex-employer and since 2011 more seriously an full time for my own business. I've been selling on Amazon.com since late 2015. 2017 will be my second full year selling on there.
My Proof: Recent articles:
- The Globe and Mail
- Radio Canada (french) interview
- La Presse (french) article
- Tweet from Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau
- Picture of me!
Questions and answers
How did you come up with a product idea?
Like mentionned, I started selling adult toys at first. I then moved from that to skateboards, longboards, apparel and shoes. At this point, around 75% of my sales are sneakers/shoes.
How much time did it take ?
It took me a good +- 4 years to figure out what was, for my situation, the best items to sell on eBay and Amazon. I'm still learning and I'm always surprised to find new items that sell incredibly well... or incredibly badly!
Where should I search for an idea?
It all depends. Are you looking to do this full time or part time? Do you have lots of time to put into this? Browsing through Amazon and getting yourself some Amazon Pricing plugins on Chrome will help you analyse pricing from products. You'll then be able to figure out if some times can be worth it.
Is there a niche that I could be successful at?
Certainly. People are buying more and more online. But businesses don't seem to follow. Very often I find that the product I have access to isn't even listed on Amazon. It took me a while to figure out the best way to list it and to sync everything with my website and eBay. It always takes a little time for a new product to get some traction, but once it does, and you're the only one selling it, it can be a little gold mine! You simple have to test different things.
Is it at all worth it?
The right question for me would be: was experimenting selling on Amazon worth it even if you were already selling on eBay. My response would be: absolutely! Things work differently on Amazon and eBay. I would confidently say that those two completely different marketplaces nicely complete each other; for a seller like me at least! As someone who sells online for a living, I wouldn't see myself "not selling" on Amazon.
I'll be glad to try and answer any question you might have! Thank you!
Edit1: So many questions, thank you so much for your interest. I'll try to answer everyone :)
Edit2: Here's a picture when I had my two businesses. The hamburger joint only lasted 8 months.