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      How To Find Products at a Wholesale Trade Show That Will Sell on eBay

      February 17th, 2007 by Skip McGrath

      Trade shows are a great place to find products that will make money on eBay, but you have to think through what you are doing and apply some research.

      One of my readers is an eBay seller who is about to attend a large industry wholesale trade show. He sent me an email asking how to find products at the show to sell on eBay.  I was about to reply to his email when I realized that this subject would make a good blog post.

      Here was his question. (I have changed a few things to protect his specific target market and personal info):

      I am going to the XYZ Industry show next week and don’t know where to start with product sourcing. There are going to be so many products and niches to pick from I don’t know what to research right now.  After I go there, I am going to have hundreds of ideas for niches?  HOW DO YOU PICK ONE? 
      Right now I sell XYZ Products, but they don’t sell well on Ebay, so I am going to look into something else.

      The show is 3 days long, but I could spend a week there and still be lost. They have the floorplan where they have the new and hot products, but I don’t know where to start.  How can you research if something is new?

      If you are an eBay seller, my suggestion for attending trade shows is to take a laptop computer.  Get HammerTap or some other eBay research tool  loaded on it.  When you go to the show first look for products that interest you.  Every time you narrow down three or four products that appeal to you, find a hotspot, go online and research the products.  After you research it on eBay, you should also research the general web (Google or shopping search engines like Yahoo Shopping)

      If you don’t have a laptop, most trade shows have computers set up in the lobby and you can go online to eBay and do a completed items search and then search Google, Froogle or Yahoo shopping.

      Then just keep repeating the process.  My wife and I spent one day at the Seattle Trade Show and found five potential products to sell on eBay this way in less than eight hours.  If we had gone back the next day, I am sure we would have found more.

      Remember one thing: Some products can only be sold by look, touch and feel.  When you are looking at a product, think:  Can I photograph and describe this so people will get it –or is this one of those things that you really have to hold in your hand to understand? 

      Most importantly think of a niche when you look at products. If, for example, you were going to a trade show related to the pet industry, the various niches might include (but not limited to) pet health, food, transportation, cages, clothing, jewelry, training, etc.  Of course these would break down further in dog, cat, fish, etc.  If it were a hardware show, you would be thinking of niches related to building, fixing, maintaining, decorating and so on. A niche is nothing more than putting things into some type of category.

      Look for products that:

      1. Sell for over $25 –$50 or more is even better.  That way you don’t have to sell hundreds of small items to make a nice profit.
      2. Have at least a 35% profit margin on eBay, 40% or more is even better.
      3. Are easy to photograph and describe.  Does the product have a clear benefit to the user?
      4. Are easy to ship. Think about the weight, packaging material, etc.
      5. Are somehow unique. Does the product have a unique angle or benefit
      6. Not everyone is selling (a little competition is OK, but not massive competition.
      7. New is good, but not necessary.
      8. Are not a fad that will pass quickly.
      9. Have a cross-sell or up-sell potential (Are they related to other products you are selling that could be sold to your same customers?)
      10. Most importantly is a product that you personally like, or would buy and can stand behind.

      One one hand you want the trust your instincts –but on the other hand it does pay to do some research.  I think my instincts are pretty good, but if I want to avoid mistakes and make more money on eBay, I always research products before I place a puchase order. Remember if researching a product right at the show is difficult or impossible, you don’t have to place orders at the show.  You can look at the products, get catalogs and pricing and do the research when you go home.  Then when you determine if you want to try a product you can place an order at that time.

      eBay wholesale sourcing at trade shows is covered in The Complete eBay Marketing System in much more detail.

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