Reselling During the Pandemic
This pandemic has thrown all of our norms on their head and that includes the Amazon reselling game. Admittedly I had come into 2020 with a warehouse full of stuff but the goal of winding down our reselling business to a more manageable level. In 2019 I had already started that process and felt good about the direction we were moving in. Owning a massive Amazon retail business was never what I set out to do, but I don’t want to skip great opportunities either. Balance is always so hard to find.
Of course balance was thrown out the window in March when things changed for everyone. At first I was slow to jump on reselling opportunities as I focused on wrapping my head around what was happening. I also never considered buying any health/safety equipment to resell and don’t understand how/why anyone would want to. I get that for some people a sale is a sale, but there are so many other areas one could focus on instead of hoarding sanitizer.
Many Items Were Very Popular
One area we did quite well with was toys early on in the pandemic. We had a lot of them and prices spiked much earlier than I would have thought. Lego sets I expected to have to hold on to until at least Christmas were selling for crazy amounts. Other toys followed a similar pattern. It was like a mini 4th quarter!
Throughout the past 6 months there have been non-essential supply shortages too. Things like pools were in short supply and I admittedly missed out on some opportunities early. Eventually I sourced some pools, electronics, toys and other stuff and have done pretty well selling them, but we only have so much bandwidth so we have had to skip other opportunities.
Finding Balance Is Hard
Balance is hard to find in life and in business and especially when you can find ways to make money. I think many resellers fail to take into account the impact on their life that this game can have. The reality of ordering, receiving, selling and shipping hundreds of a large item like a pool for example is not one for the faint of heart. I’m lucky my wife Jasmine is such a rock star. She really is the backbone of all of our reselling endeavors.
As we move into Christmas there will be many more opportunities, but they also come with increased competition. Yes, the Playstation 5 will be a great thing to resell, but the battle and time spent to get them will certainly take away from the profits just a bit. At what point do we hit our limit? Knowing that is as important in this game as having good bookkeeping.
I guess knowing your limit comes with experience. This year my experience has played a big part in helping me make some bolder decisions when it came to reselling. When I first started I often ordered 3 or 5 of an item and now that order may be 10X or 20X that size. I’ve learned to become more comfortable with my instincts and the fact that I mostly am right and when I’m wrong we tend not to lose big. Experience has also taught me to pursue avenues/products that far fewer people are interested in. Yes, I bought some Playstation 5s, but in November you might see me buying other stuff instead of wasting my time tracking down more.
Reselling During the Pandemic – Rewards & Records
One of the nicer side effects of reselling is the credit card rewards it generates. Thankfully I have been able to keep earning a decent number of points on my various cards throughout this pandemic because I am spending. I’ve bought and sold gift cards, much of the stuff mentioned above and even more as I rode the wave of 2020 and prepared for the Christmas selling season. My AT&T Access More card has gotten quite the workout for online purchases while I’ve also done well with grocery and gas bonus categories on some of my cards. To round out my earning strategy I can flex up my spending with Capital One Spark, Blue Business Plus and BofA Travel Rewards as well. And don’t forget my Chase Ink cards!
2020 also brought some new records for our reselling business. While we have always been very strong in October-December and decently strong the rest of the year, we broke our monthly sales records in June, July, August and September. It doesn’t seem like people are slowing down when it comes to buying stuff. I just wish online retailers could keep up with the demand.
Quality Control Is Out The Window
Yes, you can order a package and get it in a day, but is it going to arrive undamaged? The answer is largely no. I order from Amazon a lot and so much stuff is damaged now. The quality control is just not there and that worries me for my customers as someone who uses Amazon’s fulfillment service. If online retailers are able to keep this expanded market share they captured, then they need to do a better job of training and accountability. No one wants bent, cut, sliced or crushed stuff.
Quality control just doesn’t extend to Amazon and their shipping partners, but to us as well. As we are stretched thinner we must remember to maintain standards, keep up with returns, stay on top of fraudsters, make sure we are getting paid and so much more! It’s important that we maintain quality control and record keeping within our businesses as well. Easier said than done!
Reselling During the Pandemic – Bottom Line
And so this year has been unlike any other for just about every reason you can imagine. Everything we have gotten used to has sort of been flipped on its side, but for some reason that created opportunity for resellers. To be clear I have enjoyed some of that opportunity, but I would give it all up to be rid of this virus and pandemic. I also realize the significant loss of life, jobs and more that has happened and it weighs on me like it does so many of you.
With that said, now seems to be a great time to be in the reselling game, but if you are new just learn your limits. I still plan to wind down some of our reselling after this holiday season, but the reality now is it is as much a part of my life as the miles/points game and while I may pass on a lot more buys in the future, I’ll always be there to jump on a great opportunity.
How has your reselling game gone during the pandemic?