Sorry to any grinches out there, but yes, I’ll be talking about Christmas again today!
Love it or hate it, Christmas is the busiest and most profitable time of the year for most online sellers (especially on eBay) and if you choose to not take full advantage of the opportunity, well then you’re making a very poor business decision.
I do know that there are some niches that don’t get such a big boost at Christmas but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun, not at all! And that’s what today’s post is all about – a method for finding popular and profitable products to sell at Christmas.
We all know that every year there are a selection of products that sell like crazy during Christmas. All the way through November right up to the last second on Christmas Eve these products are in huge demand and most of the time the supply actually falls way short!
If any of you have watched the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Jingle All the Way – that sums it up pretty well!
So how do you make a killing on eBay during Christmas? By selling these products of course?
That is the route that 99% of people go down, but the actual fact is that it’s extremely hard to make any money from these products! I mean just think about it – demand far outreaches the supply, so it’s not going to be at all easy for you to get any stock to resell on eBay when the likes of Amazon, John Lewis, and Argos all want as much as they can get…
Okay occasionally in instances like this you can pick up small amounts of stock here and there (even buying from the big stores I just mentioned) and then resell them on eBay as auctions – a lot of the time they will go for many times higher than the RRP. BUT that’s not really a reliable and repeatable business model.
And on the flipside, when there is enough stock of these hot-selling Christmas products, the margins are often tiny! The big stores know how popular these products are around Christmas and the competition is so fierce that they’ll squeeze their pricing and margins as low as possible, just to get the sale from one of their competitors. And where does that leave small time eBay sellers, who have such low buying power in comparison? Well most of the time you’ll end up making a loss if you sell at the same price as other retailers!
This all comes back to the same topic that I speak about often – you can’t just follow the “big boys” and try to sell the most popular items like iPhone cases & new release PS4 games and then expect to make any money on eBay. It won’t happen.
So what can you do? What opportunities are there for you to exploit so you can make a bit of money out of this Christmas selling bonanza?
You have to not do what everyone else is doing, but instead think outside of the box a little bit. It’s like that old claim about the Klondike Gold Rush, where it wasn’t the people digging for gold who got rich (the vast majority of them didn’t) but the people supplying the mining equipment who did!
We can apply that same principle in our modern day rush (this time for toys and electronics, rather than gold!) and try to look for other opportunities to profit. From my years of experience doing this myself and also helping my clients, there are usually two directions you can go with this:
- Sell unbranded accessories
- Sell an unbranded version
Selling Unbranded Accessories
This is a very simple concept. You just source compatible accessories from China that perfectly complement the hot selling product, something that will really add to it and allow people to make the most out of their purchase. Genuine/original accessories can often be overly expensive and that’s where your unbranded offering comes in, to fill a gap in the market.
Let’s run through a few good examples to help get your brain going:
Nerf guns are again predicted to be big sellers this Christmas. At first glance you might think there are no good accessories for you to sell? Well think again – darts/bullets, targets, vests, carry cases etc.!
Build a Bear toy
Last year the Toothless build a bear plush toy (from the movie How to Train Your Dragon) was a perfect example of an item in such high demand that you couldn’t really find stock without paying over the odds on eBay. But instead of calling store after store and running out the front door when a stock alert comes in, a much better way to take advantage of the craze would have been to sell compatible clothing sourced from China at a fraction of the build a bear price.
Sold out Lego set
I tried to use a very hard final example, to prove to you that you can find accessories & complementary products for nearly any item.
Let’s say there is a Star Wars Lego set being released in conjunction with the movie this year that becomes incredibly popular with fans and is sold out instantly. You could take advantage of this by offering additional sets that go well with it; you could offer Star Wars minifigures to add to the set; you could offer a glass wall-mountable display case, etc.!
I hope you’re staring to see that the opportunities are practically endless with this accessories method – you just have to use your brain and think a little.
Selling Unbranded Versions
The second approach is to sell unbranded versions of a hot selling product. Of course 99% of these Christmas craze items are branded, meaning you cannot source them from China, at all. But in many cases there will be an unbranded version made in China that you can buy and resell. And while you may not personally agree, many people will opt for the cheaper unbranded alternative simply because it fits into their price range.
Let me quickly point out here – I am talking about unbranded versions, NOT fakes/copies. Ordering a gun that fires toy bullets made in China is fine. Ordering one that says Nerf on it is NOT fine – in fact it’s illegal. The difference should be 100% clear and obvious for anyone who reads my blog regularly but if you’re a bit confused, please post any questions below and I’ll help you out, as I don’t want you to get in to any problems here.
Alright, now that I’ve covered that, let’s run through a few examples for this second concept:
While the original NutriBullet is still selling strong for around £100, there are now many people selling their own unbranded or custom branded (even more effective, as a few pounds on branding translates to a much higher selling price!) versions for around the £30-£40 mark on eBay. And of course many people do choose these over the original due to the huge price difference.
Let’s say Argos start selling this electric scooter for children for £129.99 that becomes a huge hit, with low stock in all of their stores. You could then source a comparable model from China, maybe just slightly less powerful, and then offer it on eBay for around £60. That’s less than half the price, which automatically makes it a much more attractive option for many parents.
Green dog feeder
Some of you might have never come across this product before. It is basically a dog bowl which mimics grass so that Buster cannot finish his food in ten seconds flat. Though simple, it was quite an ingenious product and became very popular when it was first released. Considering the materials, it would be very easy to get something similar made in China, which you could then sell on eBay! (if the product is not patented).
And really it’s as easy as that! One thing you have to say is that the Chinese are great at copying (and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all). Simply give them a design and ask for an alteration in style, colour, materials etc. and they are more than happy to oblige – often with a much lower product cost – and really that’s what this concept is all about.
If I had to suggest one or the other, I would say the accessories method is easier and best to start with, simply because there is less risk of falling on the wrong side of a patent or brand dispute.
But once you get a bit more experienced with these systems, you can actually combine both ideas into the ultimate method for making easy money during Christmas! Once again my love for bundles comes into play, as you could create sets with your unbranded version and a selection of accessories.
So now that you know how to make money from hot selling items, where do you find them in the first place?
Well the answer is that there are multitudes of ways/places where you can find such info, especially now that it’s November and the sales and craziness are really starting to begin. Long time blog readers probably already have a pretty good idea about what I’m going to suggest (maybe they’ve already got a couple of extra tabs open? ;-)) but here is a good starting list for those of you who are unsure:
- Google – simply search for “top Christmas gifts” and you will get numerous results from a variety of online publications (for example – Top Ten Reviews – Best Christmas Gifts)
- Newspaper lists – pretty much every single newspaper will have a top Christmas gifts list. From a very quick search I found the following: Top children’s toys for Christmas 2015 from The Mirror & Top 10 toys for Christmas 2015 from The Daily Mail.
- DreamToys 2015 – this is one of my favourite resources for finding the toy craze of each year. It is basically a list put together by the Toy Retailers Association that predicts the Top 12 Toys of the Year. 2015’s list goes live today at 7am, and you can find it here: DreamToys 2015
- Google Trends – the perfect tool for validating really hot items as there should be a huge spike in search volume.
- Amazon – simply head over to Amazon’s Top Sellers lists and you’ll have all the info you need to really make money every Christmas. You can find Best Sellers, Hot New Releases, Movers and Shakers, Most Wished For & Most Gifted! They’re all split into different product categories, ranked according to Amazon’s actual users and their purchases. It’s basically like having access to Santa’s letters!
And there you have it – more than enough resources to find all of this year’s hot selling items. It may be a bit late to jump on the bandwagon in time for this Christmas for some items, but for certain light accessories that you can import via courier from China, there’s still time to give your income a little boost.
After all, who doesn’t need a bit more money this time of the year!
I don’t like to end on a negative note, but please, please, please DON’T order any fakes (i.e. branded) items from China! I have said it so many times on this blog but still every week I get emailed by someone new who has lost a lot of money because they tried to order the wrong kind of product.
Any and all branded toys from China are unlicensed fakes and it is illegal for you to buy and resell them.
If in doubt about the difference between unbranded and fake, please ask me.
Otherwise, I’ll see you on Friday for this week’s Q&A.
All the best,