Reselling with VieBuy.com

VieBuy.com is a monitoring tool to watch eBay for newly listed items in real time.  In this article, we’ll focus on acquiring items for reselling items

High Activity Categories

By far the highest activity categories are smartphones and electronics.  Deals are constantly available as new eBay users sell off old equipment.  Discount lot sales are also sometimes available.  Because of the high demand these categories are monitored by many buyer, and competition is fierce.

High Value Categories

On the other side of the spectrum are high value categories such as industrial and business equipment.  Here you can find items that are more specialized and have a wide price range.  Liquidations, new old stock (NOS), and reclaimed equipment can be had at low prices and resold or used for your own purposes.

Markup on the low end

Probably the easiest way to get a decent markup, is to focus on low priced items.  This is where the Chinese market can be your friend.

Let’s look at a current example: Tactical Pens.  A Tactical Pen can be used as a pen, or as an emergency tool for breaking windows.  If you’ve ever seen the movie Bourne Identity, you’ve also seen a pen used as a weapon.  This flexibility makes them legal to carry, but effective for other purposes.

For our purposes, we focus on resale.  Tactical pens are being sold out of the Chinese market on eBay US at auction for pennies in some cases.  These low end auctions are often under $2 with shipping included.

Pens sold out of the US market fetch around $6-10 at fixed price. Here are examples from the completed items page on eBay:

So by watching low end auctions, you can acquire these items individually at low price and low risk and resell them on eBay.  After eBay fees, free shipping, PayPal fees and packing materials, a $1 item can net you $4, a 300% profit.  With a constant stream of these items and other items with similar markup, you can have a steady income.

An important point to consider is the overall market for the items in question.  If you are buying items individually in a steady flow, risk is minimal, you can simply stop buying and you won’t get stuck with inventory that you can’t sell.  But you will want to sell as many as possible, as fast as possible, without waiting for a buyer to show up.  Focusing on items that have a large demand, like the tactical pens, helps insure that a steady market exists.

To determine the market, look in the eBay search results for live items. Multiple item listings display how many have sold as shown in this example.  2271 sold items shows demand for this type of item.  You have to look in live items because multiple quantity listing info like this does not appear in the completed items pages.

You should also pay attention to item details here.  The two earlier items from the complete items page are identical.  But the item with 2271 sold is somewhat different from the Chinese items.  While they are functionally similar, the differences can be significant for some items.  If you are buying individual items, you can test the resale performance of different types to determine how these differences impact your sales.

Chinese Sellers on eBay

Because the Chinese government sponsors the low cost e-Packet program, Chinese sellers do not have a high shipping cost associated with selling small packages into the US.  They can ship for nothing and compete with US sellers on lightweight packages, while the US sellers have to pay US package rates, currently at $2.60 and up.

This trade imbalance is good for US buyers, but very destructive to US small businesses.  But by buying in small quantity from the Chinese sellers using e-Packet, US small business resellers can leverage the Chinese advantage to their own end.

This also provides a service to US buyers who are not as worried about cost, but want items quick without the multiple-week shipping delays that can come with buying from China.

Buying in lots

Lot buying is often preferable.  You can usually get much better pricing on items by buying hundreds or thousaads at once.  Simply add the word lot to your keyword search to find lots.  You may want to do some price filtering as well, because small sellers sometimes use “lot” to describe two or three pieces.

The advantage that Chinese sellers have with small packages disappears with heavy packages and lot orders may not come with free shipping out of China.

The free freight-in shipping advantage that the continuous small purchase approach has will be harder to find with large lots, but the price discounts usually make shipping charges less important.

Lot buying also minimizes the amount of time you have to spend bidding, paying, and handling materials.  It’s also easier to list items when they are all the same.

Off-eBay sales

Another big factor is arbitrage – buying on one market and selling in another.   While we already addressed buying from China to resell in the US, there’s also the approach of buying on eBay and selling in other online marketplaces (Amazon, Etsy, Craigslist, etc).

Online buyers usually prefer one market or the other and it isn’t uncommon for price to vary between markets.  You can choose the market that gives you the best profit.  Each market comes with it’s own issues.  Some are more time consuming, some have unreliable buyers, and some are specialized.  You can test selling in other markets to determine what works best for your item.  It may be that eBay is the best place for both buying and selling.

 

 

 

 

 

Item display order vs the eBay website

When using VieBuy and BINSniper, the order of items in the lists can vary from the eBay order.

Age Sorting

When set to sort by age, items are resorted to chronological order by age.  This mode matches the Newly Listed sort on the eBay websites.  The apps will also flag newly arrived items with a star.

Here we see the items sorted, with stars next to the newly received items:  Because the starred  items are out of order, it means that they were created earlier, but not published to the website and data feeds until a couple minutes later.

Look at the Frederique Constant Slim…  line.  This item was just received, as indicated by the star, and inserted into the sorted list below old items.  This is what happens at the eBay site. The inserted item could appear on page 2 or page 3 of the website list in fast categories.

Note that, because of the delays, newer items can be published on the eBay site in a different order than they are created.

Arrival Sorting

When sorting by arrival, the newest items are displayed first and flagged with a star.  The new items will always be first.

Here we see the same items using arrival sort.  The newest item is at the top, the times reflect how long the item has been published on eBay (not how long ago it was created):

Again, look at the Frederique Constant Slim…  line.  Now it appears toward the top of the list in the order it was published by eBay.  This sorting mode is not available at the eBay websites.

This is a cause for confusion for some users of the apps when trying to compare items sorted by arrival with the eBay site which is sorted by creation time.   When you set the eBay site for Newly Listed sort, you will see new items at the top of the list only if they are published immediately or in slow moving categories where other items can’t jump ahead.  But in many cases, new items that are delayed will be inserted into the item lists based on their creation time and appear further down the page.

Here we see the same items again, at the eBay site with the Newly Listed sort:

While it appears that the first item in the list is the newest, it is in fact one of the oldest.  The third item marked #1 was the first item displayed on the website (the oldest).  Then item #2, #3 etc.   Item #8 was the last item of the group to be published (the most recent), but it appeared on the eBay site at around 17:37.   Because it was created at 17:35, it gets sorted to the bottom.

You can see this process happen if you load the eBay pages, record the results,  reload the page, and compare the new results to the old results.  You’ll find older items are inserted further down the page.  If you don’t reload and compare, you might assume that the items on the eBay site are arriving earlier because of how they are sorted.

Using VieBuy and BINSniper allows for arrival sorts which show the items as they are published, and you don’t miss those hidden items that don’t appear in a timely fashion.  We recommend using arrival sort in all cases.

 

BINSniper 3.4 and VieBuy 3.4 Releases

VieBuy 3.4 is now active at viebuy.com

BINSniper 3.4 is now available via the Firefox add-on installation process.

New Features

  • A new “All Channels” option is now available for search site-wide on any eBay site.  This feature allows you to use one filter across the entire site where items may be in more than one channel.  Using this feature can improve search delays.
  • Upgrade alerts and other system status messages will now be visible at the top of the VieBuy and BINSniper screens.  Notices of new features and releases will appear on the screen in both apps.
  • VieBuy has rotating tips at the top of the screen.  These can now be disabled in the Settings page.  The tips provide answers to common questions and are updated with information on new features.

All Channels

If you are running the same search in multiple channels, you can now select “All Channels” to search all of eBay without any category restrictions.

Channels are a friendly shortcut to searching categories. So if you are searching items that will only appear in one channel, you should continue to use the specific channels.

For example, if you are searching for iPhone 6 smartphones, you should use the “Cell Phones & Accessories” channel.  But if you are searching for a wide range of items related to frogs for your eclectic frog collection, you should use the “All Channels” option rather than create multiple filters.

In general you want to create as few filters as possible, while targeting the filters as much as possible.  This will give the fastest and most accurate results.

The “All channels” feature should not be used as a general replacement for all searches.  Single category searches are generally faster.

Note that if you enter category number in a filter while using “All channels”, only the selected categories will be searched.

 

BINSniper 3.x and VieBuy Update

New faster (and slower) processing

A new filter processing system was installed on March 28 that changed how often filters are updated and how fast new items are delivered.  We apologize for the delay in posting this information.

This change addresses a performance problem caused by a small number of users who configure a large number of filters (in some cases over 100 filters).  At times, other users were negatively impacted and experiencing delays.

The majority of users, who have a small number of filters configured,  are already seeing faster updates as a result of this change.   Users in active categories are updated as fast as once per second.  In slower categories, updates typically usually run under five seconds.  Remember that eBay delays may impact actual delivery time of new items.

For those few users running a large number of filters, your performance will now be degraded.  In some cases updates may be running as infrequently as every 5 minutes in slow moving categories.  This is in addition to eBay delays.

An even smaller number of users were heavy consumers of system resources, but not buying at all,  have been blocked completely as they were just leeching from everyone else.

How to get faster updates

While in the past, we have recommended creating separate filters for different channels and products, this recommendation has now changed to suit the new system design.

You should consolidate filters wherever possible.  The fewer filters you have, the faster they will update.   Each user now has their own filter queue and filters are processed in round-robin fashion.   The more filters you have configured, the longer time there will be between updates of an individual filter.

Update:  New All Channels option now available.

Version 3.4 and above provide a new option to allow filters to span all eBay categories on a site.  While channels are still preferred for performance and convenience reasons, the new “All channels” option will allow those users that are configuring the same filters in multiple channels to further consolidate these filters and get better performance.

 

3.2 releases – BINSniper and VieBuy

3.2 differences that you should be aware of:

How Categories and Channels Work

  • Channels are the top level categories of eBay.
  • Filter categories are sub-categories. When you select a filter sub-category, it overrides the top level channel category.
  • There is a new limit in 3.2 on categories: you can only specify up to three categories on a filter.
  • Categories filters now return all items in subcategories of your selected category.  You may be able reduce the number of filters you use by selecting a higher level parent category.

How Keyword Searches Work

  • When you are using grouping such as (ipad,iphone,ipad), the length of the group must be less than 100 characters.  The system will warn if you exceed this. You can split filters to workaround this limit.
  • Description searches are now supported. This searches title and description and in some cases item specifics of the listing.

Please post any questions to the 3.2.1 release threads for the program you are using or at least indicate which program you are using if you post here.