Researching items before you go out gives you more tools in your toolbox to work with when you come across items. And while there are many different apps on various forms of technology you can use, the most reliable will be your noggin. You don’t have to keep a load of numbers in your head, just a mental list of items to keep your eyes open for in your searches. Keeping a notebook with your mental list can be a great reinforcement tool in case you don’t trust your memory a hundred percent.
Your brain plays a great role when searching for items because it can subconsciously pick up things you have read about that have some worth. It’s the reason that you stop and pause at the same piece of jadeite everytime that’s still sitting on the thrift store shelf because it’s overpriced. You know you don’t want to look at it, but your brain doesn’t. So spending a little time every week going through different types of items of items that are selling on venues can benefit you greatly in your searches.
I pick a category on Ebay, click completed items, and just dive in. That’s how I find all my “Dooyahavwun” topics. There are so many niches out there, you could spend the rest of your life researching them and never run out. So now while I’m visually scanning, my brain is in on the action too.
On the fun side of research, I also pick up magazines from the 50’s-70’s. I turn to the very back of the magazine where all the “Order this!” items are located and research them. These are going to be scarce items because not too many people ordered them. Also, check out the advertisements for products. It is a great way to see what items came in sets or the colors they came in back then.
Of course, the internet is an amazing source of information. There are SO many websites and blogs dedicated to one type of item (i.e. Pyrex, vintage shoes, Disney collectibles, etc). These are wonderful sites written by people that are both passionate and knowledgeable about their items…and they are usually available to answer questions too!
Books, trade publications, and price guides are also places to find visual and value information. Having some on hand about the items you constantly run into is a great tool as well.
Researching your items that you buy is also very important. You can use any of the sources above to do this. And the reasons to do this are many:
1) Making sure your item is authentic. There are a good number of reproduction/fake items in every category out there. Taking a moment to make sure the item you just bought is the “real deal” can save a lot of headache later on.
2) Finding out what the average market is PAYING. This helps you to figure out the price you are going to set for your item. Keep in mind, some people don’t do this and they price their item too high.
3) It helps to see how many are on at the moment. If there are tons of the same item just sitting on the venue, it can let you know it may not be cost effective to list that item at the moment.
4) It gives you an idea of which ones of your item are selling. Does the item have a lot of pictures? Lots of measurements? Free shipping? You can’t copy word for word listings or copy pictures, but looking at successful sales and using the same attributes in YOUR OWN WAY is just smart selling. I cannot stress enough to NOT copy and paste listing information.
5) It helps you grade your item on condition. You can see what is out there and what people are listing their item’s condition as in terms of wear and age. You then can get a sense of where your item falls in the spectrum.
Research should be an ongoing activity in your reselling business. Trends, fashions, and history can make the reselling climate change on a daily basis. Keeping up with some of these can help you and your business become more successful.