At this day and age, it is pretty safe to assume that you know people can start a business selling things on Amazon. Plenty of people have begun dabbling in retail arbitrage, private label, and drop shipping methods.
But did you also know that you can sell used items on Amazon?
Don’t start emptying your cupboards just yet — you can’t sell any old item you have lying around; this isn’t Craigslist or eBay.
Amazon allows you to sell specific items in certain conditions.
That being said, if you do your homework for just a few hours and learn how to sell used items on your Amazon account properly, you can make a pretty penny.
This guide is designed to give you the knowledge needed to start selling used products on Amazon.
Amazon Vs eBay For Selling Used Items
Before we dive into the details, let’s take a moment to compare Amazon to its biggest used item competitor eBay for online sales.
When it comes to selling used items, Amazon isn’t the only big name in the game to increase your bank account. Many people turn to eBay when trying to offload their extra goods for cash.
The amount you are willing to pay in fees, the level of convenience you wish for, and the items you are selling are all factors. However, which one will be best for you generally comes down to personal preference and if you want to save money or time.
The seller fees when your item sells will likely be lower for the same product for anyone using an Amazon seller account — unless you are selling computers and electronics. Amazon’s fees generally come out on top in those two categories for those with a professional seller account.
If you are strapped for time, an Amazon FBA account will likely be your number one choice. After the initial professional account setup, selling with Amazon is a breeze. The only category where eBay may be quicker is rare and unique items.
Tracking down the UPC for a rare item so that you can list it on Amazon will be much more difficult than slapping your own photos on eBay.
If you aren’t looking to make this a consistent income stream and simply want to clean out your closet, eBay is probably the winner. Managing an Amazon FBA seller account is better suited for someone that wants to sell on a regular basis.
Why Sell Used Items On Amazon & How it Works?
The “why” is easy: money!
Without too much effort, you can start fattening your wallet.
Now to the how.
First, you will need to set up an Amazon FBA account (Fulfillment by Amazon). An FBA account takes most of the work off your shoulder and lets Amazon handle the customers and the shipping.
Once you’ve determined which used items are worth trying to sell (more on that later), you’ll need to create your listings in your Amazon Seller Central account.
Listing isn’t too difficult, especially if the item is currently being sold or has been sold before. They even have a convenient Amazon seller mobile app.
You can search for the product you are trying to list by keyword, brand name, UPC, EAN, ISBN, or ASIN. You can scroll through the choices until you find the one that matches your particular item and click “Sell Yours.”
The next bit will look complicated, but it really isn’t.
You are only going to be concerned with three things:
Since you have an FBA account, you will also want to make sure that you indicate, “I want Amazon to ship and provide customer service for my items if they sell.”
Got all of that? Time to save and finish.
Once you have completed this process for all of the items you plan to sell, you will need to ship those items to Amazon. Then you can sit back and wait for the sales.
This is a really simplified version of the process. For more information on the exact details of Amazon FBA as a third party seller, you might want to check out this article.
Of course, if you don’t mind slapping your own shipping label on boxes, you can opt to merchant fulfill (MF) them, but that is a whole another article.
Amazon Categories You Can Sell Used
As promised above, let’s talk about what used items you are allowed to sell on Amazon. This is important because you aren’t allowed to just sell whatever you want.
Amazon wants to make sure their customers are happy, so they restrict what can and can’t be sold as used on their platform. The idea is that all of the items on the site are up to par with customer expectations.
Used items are only allowed in the following product categories:
- Amazon Device Accessories
- Amazon Kindle
- Automotive & Powersports
- Camera & Photo
- Cell Phones & Accessories
- Collectible Coins (must be like-new condition)
- Consumer Electronics
- Entertainment Collectibles (must be like-new condition)
- Home & Garden
- Industrial & Scientific
- Kindle Accessories and Amazon Fire TV Accessories
- Major Appliances
- Musical Instruments
- Office Products
- Personal Computers
- Pet Supplies
- Sports Collectibles (must be like-new condition)
- Tools & Home Improvement
- Video, DVD & Blu-ray
- Video Games
Condition Also Matters
All of the items that you list for sale will need to be given a condition. If you are only selling new items, then the condition is simple. When it comes to used items, it isn’t quite as straightforward.
Imagine how unhappy a customer will be if you list your item as Used-Very Good, but it is really more of a Used-Acceptable condition.
Let’s just say you probably won’t be getting a good review.
When it comes to used items, Amazon allows four designations:
- Used – Like New or Open Box
- Used – Very Good
- Used – Good
- Used – Acceptable
Like New means that your item is in the original packaging with no or only very minor damage. The item itself is in perfect condition, and the instructions are included.
Very Good means the item has only been used in a limited fashion and works as intended. There is an allowance for small cosmetic wear like a few tiny scratches. The packaging can be original but damaged, and this designation also allows for the item to be repackaged.
If the instructions or any accessories are missing, those details must be explained.
Good means the item works well but there can be more definite signs of wear. Damaged or repackaged items are allowed and there can be some cosmetic damage. Parts, accessories, and instructions can be missing.
Acceptable means the item works, but it may have scratches, dents, or even identifying marks.
Any items that are dirty, heavily stained, moldy, or corroded are not allowed. If the item no longer functions as intended or is missing essential parts it cannot be sold on Amazon.
Counterfeits, imitations, replicas, and products that need repairs are not allowed. In addition, you cannot sell promotional items, advanced copies, or expired products.
Items that have been recalled by the manufacturer are also prohibited. Seems like common sense, but I just wanted to throw that in there in case you were curious.
Where To Find Used Items to Sell on Amazon
Finding items to sell used on Amazon isn’t hard. You can literally start going through your closets, attic, or even your garage to get started.
But you don’t have to only look there. You don’t have to rely on your own basement to source items to sell on Amazon.
Where can you go to find used goods?
A good place to start is your local thrift store or even neighborhood garage sales. These are both excellent spots to find used books, an easy thing to sell on Amazon. You can often find books for sale for as low as a quarter, and they may sell for much higher than that on the site.
In addition to books, thrift stores and garage sales are great places to find used DVD or VHS players. These are often great for selling on Amazon, just make sure they are in good working order before making your purchase.
Estate sales are another place where you may be able to find a plethora of items that are good for listing. Sales with large book collections can be especially profitable.
Using Tactical Arbitrage To Find Used Items
Tactical Arbitrage can be used to hunt down some used books and some other profitable used items. To be honest with you, this is a little known secret. In fact, most don’t even look for these types of deals because most resellers are focused on new items only.
You may notice that some used books from third party sellers who utilize FBM and FBA have a huge price difference. This is a huge opportunity for flips as you people are willing to pay a premium for Amazon’s fast shipping and great customer service.
Tactical Arbitrage can search for these types of arbitrage opportunities and provide you with a list of opportunities to buy and flip on Amazon.
You can also do some searches on eBay to find some other good used items. We have been lucky enough to find some really profitable video games that I would flip on Amazon FBA for big profits.
13 Amazon Used Listing Tips
1- Be Conservative With Condition Grading
When choosing the condition of your used item, you may be tempted to rate it as high as possible. The opposite is actually true, however. If you feel like the item is Very Good, mark it as Good.
It is better to have a customer with exceeding expectations than one that is disappointed.
2- Increase Chances For Buy Box
Having your product featured in the “Buy Box” increases your chances of making sales. It is the coveted position for sellers.You can even win it for used items if there are no new offers. You often see this with books.
Having great reviews and selling at competitive prices increases your chances of being placed in the Buy Box.
3 – Niche & Hard To Find Items Do Well
When it comes to selling used goods on Amazon, there are a few categories that tend to do better than others. Niche products, hobby items, and refurbished goods perform the best in the used markets.
4 – Use Existing Listings
Amazon won’t allow you to create a new page for an item that is already listed. Each item is only authorized to be listed one time in the Amazon catalog. So, if you try to create an additional listing, it will eventually be removed by Amazon.
5 – Seller Reviews Help
Getting good reviews should be your top priority! In the online shopping environment, most customers depend on reviews to help them make their purchasing decisions. They will not only read your reviews, but they will also take the quantity of reviews into consideration.
6 – Picture Says a 1000 Words
If you are creating a listing for an item not already in Amazon’s catalog, you need to take high-quality photos of the item. Make sure the images are well lit, and the background is neutral.
The customers want to clearly see the item — not your kitchen counters or shaggy rug.
The first photo needs to be a picture of the item on a white background, but it is also a good idea to add a few lifestyle photos of the item in use.
7- Don’t Break The Rules
Follow the rules. Amazon can (and will) suspend your seller account for breaking the rules. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t even try to bend the rules. It usually doesn’t end well.
8 – Manage Your Inventory
When using FBA, you have to pay storage fees for your items. Keep this in mind when sending in your boxes. Having 15 used Twilight books collecting dust in an Amazon warehouse is going to cost you money in the long run.
When sending in your inventory, make sure that you are focusing on items that have a high chance of selling in a short amount of time. Instead of sending in all 15 books at once, you could send in a few at a time. You always have the option to replenish your stock which can be more cost-effective in the long run.
9 – Stick To The Basics
Utilize basic marketing strategies. Most prices end in .99, and they have for decades. People tend to see $26.99 and think that it is cheaper than $27. However, there is no rule that says you have to stick with this pricing strategy.
Do some experimentation and try different prices like $26.97 or even $26.75! Keep track of which strategy gets you the most sales, and then you can implement that for all of your listings.
10 – Drive Traffic
Send people to your listings. Social media is very powerful when it comes to marketing your items. If you really want to boost the traffic to your Amazon listings, consider sharing them on your social media platforms.
Pinterest can be an excellent way to sell items as it is basically a search engine with pretty pictures! Instagram can also be a good source of sales.
There are plenty of boutique and online stores that get a ton of traffic from Instagram.
11- Respond Quickly
Be quick in your response times. Customer service is key to any business, and selling items on Amazon is no different. When selling used items, customers may have specific questions about the condition or working order of the items you are selling.
They may want to know exactly what accessories are with it or what state the original packaging is in. Whenever you get a message from a customer, attempt to answer it within a few hours if possible. Your quick response could be the difference between getting the sale and not.
12 – Adapt When Necessary
Amazon rules are not static, and they are times when they change up the game. You need to be on your toes and able to pivot at a moment’s notice. If you want to continue to sell and earn income from the platform, you may have to adapt to new rules!
Hopefully, you now have a very good idea of how to sell used items on Amazon. You no longer have to rely on eBay or Facebook Marketplace to sell used goods, and you can even make a very profitable side hustle with an FBA account.
As long as you play by Amazon’s rules and follow the instructions, you can be making sales in a flash.
Once you have exhausted the used items in your own home, you can start thrifting and hitting up estate sales or hunt some good ones in your pajamas with Tactical Arbitrage to find more items to sell.
Check out our free trial here to get started finding items to sell online.
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