How to Start a Reselling Business


Your business idea doesn’t need to be ground-breaking to make money. You don’t even need to go through a product creation process to have successful sales off and online. You can start a reselling business and put profits into your pocket without having to develop or manufacture a perfect product. 

Reselling businesses are very low-cost and effective way to start selling without starting from a clean slate. Time and time again, there are countless examples of people who have thriving reselling businesses. So, why can’t you join in and grab some of the profits in this market?

These types of businesses can be treated as a supplement to your income, or you can take it all the way to becoming your full-time gig. Whatever your goal is, there’s no better time to learn what a reselling business is and how to do it successfully. We’ll cover

  • Finding products to sell
  • Picking where to sell
  • Automatically listing to multiple marketplaces at once with a crosslister app

and a lot more!

What is a Reselling Business ?

There is no secret to the name, it is exactly as it sounds. A reselling business is essentially just reselling items online or locally.  An ideal reselling business involves you listing items for sale to your customers for a higher price than it cost you to acquire the item!. 

There are thousands if not millions of successful resellers out there. Believe it or not, starting a reselling business is not as intimidating as it may seem. The business model itself is almost too simple for you not to try! You would be surprised at what could happen with good products and consistency. 

Here are a few tips that will teach you exactly how to start a reselling business.

How to Start A Reselling Business

Think About What You Want to Sell

The first step is to have a understanding of what to sell in your business. This decision will help determine your branding, target market and marketing strategy. However, determining what to sell may take more brainstorming than you think because you must make sure that the items you want to sell are in demand and can be profitable. Most of the time, these reselling businesses are within a certain niche ie) vintage clothing. You probably have something that you are passionate about, which you could use to build a hobby into a full-time business. 

However, some resellers don’t claim to be a part of one niche and just find any products that they believe have value and that people would buy. 

Either strategy can work, however, if you are looking to scale this business, I suggest that you lean towards getting into a niche. This way, people will not be confused about what you do, and they will associate your products with your brand. It is just better to look like an expert in one area than just a person selling thousands of different products online. Overall, I believe this puts more trust into your target consumer. Which is always a goal. 

As well, if you are planning on using an online business format, tailoring your brand into a certain niche will help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is because search engines will know exactly what you do and will then push your page to those who are searching for the niche.

Pick a Marketplace to Sell On

Once you know what to sell, before you can start a reselling business, you must decide where you are going to sell. Different marketplaces work for different types of products. For example depop is popular with Gen-Z fashion meanwhile eBay works for just about anything.

Your decision will be greatly determined by your target audience. Essentially, you must figure out where the best place to reach them is! 

When you begin your research to figure out what outlet will hold your business, you’ll find an infinite number of options. For the most part, people will sell locally or find a platform online. 

If you decide to sell locally, you can either start up a business on Instagram and post your products directly on there. Or you could even invest in a local shop where people can visit. However, you should be turning to sell on an online marketplace if you want to reach more potential customers.  

There are countless numbers of marketplaces online that serve different niches. Therefore, there is probably an online marketplace platform out there where you can sell your inventory. 

The upside about choosing marketplaces is if the platform is already well-known, you potentially already have a customer base as soon as you hit post!

Of course, you should try to be on as many platforms as possible, there’s no need to stick to JUST ONE MARKETPLACE! You can use crosslisting tools like Crosslister by SellerAider to automatically list crosslist to other marketplaces

Cross-listing will help you diversify and hopefully reach more potential customers. Even if you are strictly reselling locally, you could open a shop and have an Instagram business page. If you are reselling online, you could be on various platforms. The options to reach your target market are endless. 

Overtime some resellers open their own website and cut out the middleman, this is a great way to progress but is not recommended when just starting a reselling business.

Source Products With Profit In Mind 

If you are looking to start your reselling business, you will need to put effort into sourcing products. Why ? because the price you source products for will determine how much profit you can make in your reselling business !

As you test the reselling waters when you are first starting, it is advisable to begin reselling the used items that you have around your house. If they are in good condition and, if there is a demand, you will most likely get a sale! 

When I first started reselling, I solely sold my clothes and used old shipping boxes from previous packages. When my reselling business started going off, I even had to call my friends and family to see if they had any shipping supplies laying around. You can probably tell I wasn’t at a point to lose any profits to buy supplies yet!

If you think about it, selling the things around your house will only last for so long. Therefore, the next step is the find a wholesaler or visit places like thrift shops/yard sales to find  good deals.

This is when you can start scaling your business as you have the option to tailor your products to your target market. Also, sourcing products wholesale will allow you to buy the same product in multiple quantities so more than one of your customers can get their hands on the item.

We’ve created free profit/fee calculators for each major reselling marketplace:

Invest in tools (or people) that will help you grow

Although reselling is a simple business model that needs very little capital to start up, it can quickly become a very time consuming business! There are lots of things you have to do manually (E.g printing labels, listing items etc.). It is critical to automate away as much as you can to remain efficient reseller.

Growth automation tools for resellers

One thing that takes up a lot of time is cross listing to different marketplaces!

Lots of time is also lost when you take part in social engagement activities in order to get your listings any visibility. Social engagement is something that a few marketplaces emphasize a lot, and the consequence of not playing their game is reduced sales.

As you can see, this gets to be a little too much, even for full time resellers! Which is why many resellers will try to outsource these actions. 

For example on depop you have to refresh your listings to get them to the top of search, so many depop sellers use automation software like a depop bot or get virtual assistants. The same is true for poshmark, poshmark bots are very popular can help share your listings on the platform. These automation tools also exist on marketplaces like vinted.

Photography tools for resellers

Your photos are a big part of the appeal of your listing. You do not need an entire studio to take great photos for your reselling business. You should be investing in a smartphone with a decent camera. Smartphones are great because they are highly portable so you can take them with you while you source new products for your business.

Once you finish taking your photos you can just use any of the free apps available to add some finishing touches and make your product look picture perfect!

Add Value

It is essential for reselling businesses to add value to the customer experience. If your reselling business model is based around either selling brand new or used items, you must give your customer a reason as to why they should be buying this item for you. Chances are, they could easily get it from another reseller. You are going to have to differentiate yourself by adding some type of value, so your customer feels as if shopping with you is worth it. 

Adding value in terms of experience could be anything that will make your company stand out by benefitting the consumer. These benefits could be, sourcing a hard-to-find product, making the buying experience easy, beautiful packaging, or even just having a successful reselling brand that customers want to shop at. This added value will make customers feel special and want to continue to buy from you.

Establish Relationships with Your Customers

So far, as you have been implementing the preceding steps, you are already beginning to build a brand. However, you need to really get clear about what exactly your brand is about and the benefits it can bring to the consumer. A reselling business is just like another business and needs to be customer-focused if you want to resonate with them. 

Building a solid brand is key in this business to make sure your customers feel connected and want to continue purchasing your products.  Overall, your brand strategy for your reselling business should be telling your story while attracting customers.

Connect with other resellers

If you want to start a reselling business, you need to understand that having a support network is KEY. It is important to seek support from people in a similar situation as you are (other resellers). This way you can get advice from many people on the challenges you encounter as a reseller like taking good photos, listing items, promoting your shop, sourcing items and more!

Where can you find other resellers ?

There are many communities online that will help you grow as a reseller. You start out by looking at communities on facebook and reddit, some communities are focused on one marketplace while many also are general communities geared towards all resellers.

Many of these online communities also have real life meet ups as well! so it’s good to see if there are any local events for resellers in your niche!

Keep Records of Your sales and expenses!

It wouldn’t be a business-post if I didn’t mention the word “TAX”! This goes without saying, but keep in mind the laws around running a business wherever you may be and follow them strictly. If you are selling for a profit and making income, you need to be claiming that money and pay the taxes on it! Just because it is online doesn’t mean it is exempt from compliance.

Keep track of your expenses, invoices, receipts, and anything else that is money-related, as it should be filed away for the dreaded tax season.

Consider Opening a business 

Many resellers start out using their own personal accounts and operate as sole traders. At a certain point in your reseling journey, you should absolutely consider opening a business in whatever country you reside in. If you are based in the U.S an LLC is what you should be looking at, if you are based in the U.K consider opening an LTD company (It only costs £12!).

A business is a separate entity from you as a individual and provides you extra legal protection. It also makes it very easy to compartmentalise your record keeping, so there is a clear division between your business accounts and your personal accounts. This prevents you from having to look through every item on your personal bank statement and deduce whether your starbucks on monday was a business expense or not!

Take your reselling business seriously

For any business, consistency is key, a reselling business is no different in that respect!

It is not enough to start a reselling business, you have to make sure that every day you are putting in a little bit of effort in order to grow your reselling business. Whether that means listing new products daily, taking photos, reaching out to past customers for reviews and more. It is very important to never have a day where you don’t do something, no matter how small it is. 

This hardwork and consistency will pay off overtime, it will also transfer over to any other business you choose to open in the future.