Don’t dive in headfirst! (Pic: Pixabay)

There is one extremely important question I’m asked quite frequently and that is simply to do with the question of quantities.

Imagine the scenario: you’ve found what you think to be the perfect product. It ticks all the boxes and you’ve done your research.

This is the product that is going to make you a huge profit, the product that the whole world needs to own, the product you can source for an incredibly cheap price with a bulk buy.

So you go ahead and order a quantity of 500. Imagine your excitement as you wait for your shipment to arrive.

You’ve planned your listing description and you are all set to go. So when your items arrive you start your listings immediately and… your products fail to sell as expected.

This is one of the most disheartening things that you might face as an eBay seller.

I’ve been there myself, as has any successful eBay seller at some point or other, and it’s a feeling I most definitely want you to avoid.

But there are two factors to think about here

Firstly, you can’t simply order stock, create a listing, set it live and then sit back and wait for hordes of people to come and buy from you.

That won’t happen without you actually marketing your products. I talked about this in a previous eletter, which if you missed, you can recap on here.

And the second factor is to exercise just a little bit of caution!

Always start small

No matter how much research you conduct into how successfully a certain product will sell, you really can’t ever know the true results until you create your listings and start marketing it.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t bother with any research, because proper research is extremely important when you are selecting a product. But it is important to remember that there are other factors that you may not initially count on that can affect your success in any niche.

It could be a sudden surge of competition, a freak change in the market reducing the popularity of your product or a reduction in cost from other bigger online retailers cutting into your profit margins, for example. All are factors that you might face at some point in your online selling career.

So you must use your common sense – and this is where the importance of buying in small quantities to start with really comes into its own.

There’s no denying that buying in bulk is certainly one of the best ways to secure competitive pricing on some great goods, maximising your profits in the process. But buying a product in bulk that you haven’t researched or even tested could leave you out of pocket, not to mention out of storage space!

That’s why it is absolutely imperative that you should start by buying a small amount of any product that you are considering selling before signing yourself up to a larger order.

Dip your toe in the water before diving in headfirst

With the correct and sufficient research it is possible to know, to a certain extent, if a product is likely to sell well. Once you have found a reliable supplier and received your samples, you then need to test your product. This is so important.

A good supplier will be more than happy to send you a test sample or allow you to place a small quantity order before you commit to a larger order. If they won’t, then perhaps they are not the right supplier to consider.

There are two things that buying a sample or test batch will allow you to do. Not only can you get your hands on the product that you will be selling to check quality and/or functionality, but you will also be able to create listings to actually start selling this smaller quantity to work out your exact keywords and your price point.

If it becomes apparent early on that your products simply aren’t going to sell in the quantities you anticipated, you won’t have lost much. But also when you find yourself with an incredibly successful item, you’ll be in a position to confidently buy in bulk, knowing full well that sales and significant profits will follow.

Paying out less cash upfront helps you budget

Another advantage of buying a smaller quantity of goods before committing yourself to a large order is that you will need less capital at the outset.

If the product that you choose to sell isn’t too expensive then this won’t be a factor anyway, but more expensive items will cost you much more in initial outlay.

Learning that your product is likely to sell without spending too much money makes it much easier to make the decision to stretch your budget a little more for the successfully selling product.

But that’s not all! When your initial small quantity of goods sell well then you will find yourself with a tidy profit that you can then put towards buying more stock.

The more you sell, the more money will be accessible to put towards more of your chosen product.

Save storage space for your successful products

I don’t know about you but I’m not a great fan of seeing endless boxes of products littering my office. In fact, I have a special section now reserved specifically for ‘products’!

It’s even worse if the boxes that you are constantly tripping over are full of things that seem to be taking an age to sell and I know that if you don’t have an empty garage to use or a spare room to fill, storage space will be at a premium.

So ordering a huge quantity of a product before being sure that it will sell might end up being an enormous hassle when you do find an item that will work because you’ll have nowhere to store it!

A small amount of goods ordered just to test the water won’t take up too much room. And remember that you don’t have to limit yourself to trying out one product at a time.

Instead, why not sample a few different products within the same niche to see exactly where your profits can be maximised? Once you see the success of some goods over others, you will be much more inclined to dedicate your storage space to the right cause.

In a nutshell…

My advice to you is this – always buy small quantities first. Just a sample amount if you can.

If you see a supplier with a minimum order quantity of 500 or 1000, don’t take this as read – contact them and negotiate.

Any genuine supplier will have no problem with you ordering samples and then reducing the initial order quantity. After all this could mean further business for them in the future.

As a rule, stick to five or ten of a product to test and then up your order to 100 or more once you judge its success.

Once you are successfully selling all your stock within the timeframe expected, then you can think about ordering in much larger quantities and can take advantage of lower prices.

I hope you can see the benefits of purchasing a small amount of products before signing your hard-earned cash away on a bulk load of an item that you are not sure will sell for a reasonable profit. Make this general practice in your eBay selling career to stay on a profitable road.