I’ve heard it many times before, both online and in person:
“Selling new items on Amazon is easier.”
“Selling new items on Amazon is much safer than selling used items.”
“Does Amazon even allow me to sell used items?”
“Selling used items on Amazon is a pain. It’s not worth my time.”
“Isn’t it easier to get suspended on Amazon for selling used items?
It surprises me just how many people are afraid to sell used items on Amazon. It’s money that people are leaving on the table. Now, I admit that the majority of what I sell on Amazon is in new condition, but we also make good money from items that are no longer in new condition. Used items remain a staple of my online selling strategy. There is so much money that can be made selling used items, but as with anything profitable, you want to be sure you are doing it the right way.
Today, my goal is to erase your fears of selling used items. I want to replace those fears with truth, equip you with the knowledge you need to move forward, and challenge you to apply what you’ve learned. Soon enough, you’ll have the confidence you need to sell used items on Amazon without worry — and increase your bottom line as well.
Here are my responses to several of the myths of selling used items on Amazon:
MYTH – Selling used items on Amazon is not worth my time. New items are just easier.
TRUTH – While processing new items to sell might not take up that much time, it doesn’t mean that selling used items is always a waste of time. Determining if it’s a waste of time all depends on which used items you’re selling. If it’s a collectible (used) board game, then the ROI of the board game needs to be high enough in order for you to take the time to make sure all of the pieces are present. If I bought a used board game for $2 and can sell it as collectible for $40, then it makes sense to me to spend a few minutes double checking that all the pieces are there. Used books only require an extra few seconds of your time as all you need to do is flip through the book and note if there are any highlights, notes, folded pages, etc., in the condition notes. I’ve purchased boxes of used books for a few dollars per box and ended up making hundreds of dollars from that same box. Used items, as long as they are complete and in working condition, can be a valuable addition to your sourcing strategy.
MYTH – Amazon won’t let me sell used items.
TRUTH – In most categories, Amazon will allow you to sell used items. Be sure to check the Amazon Seller Guidelines, but there are only a few categories where you are not allowed to sell used items. The main categories that used items are never allowed is Baby, Shoes, Clothing, and Grocery (used groceries? gross!). Used items are also not allowed in Toys & Games, but they do allow “used” items to be sold as “collectible.” Amazon sees collectible toys as toys that are no longer able to be bought at most retail locations… and are therefore, collectible. Again, as long as the item is complete and in working condition, you can sell it in almost any category as used.
MYTH – Other than books, people don’t like to buy used items.
TRUTH – People buy used items all the time. I’ve sold many toys and games in collectible condition that were obviously opened and used before. Some people want to buy a used item because it will cost them less. When it comes to toys, some parents know their kid will probably destroy the toy in no time, and they would rather pay less to get them the toy they will not take good care of. Others know that buying something as “used, like new” is basically getting a brand new item in an open box. If the item is hard to find, the rank good, and the profit potential great, then selling a used item on Amazon is something you should consider. We sell used (collectible) board games toys all the time. Some board games in new condition can go for over $100 to $300… but a board game that is sold as collectible can still fetch anywhere from $50 to $100 very often.
MYTH – Selling new items on Amazon is just safer than selling used. If I sell used items, that will probably increase my chances of getting my seller account suspended.
TRUTH – As long as your used items are complete and in working condition, then you will likely not be increasing your chances of getting your Amazon seller account suspended. Cynthia Stine, author of Suspension Prevention: Get Reinstated and Protect Your Amazon Seller Account, says that one of the main reasons Amazon sellers get suspended is that they try to sell used items as new. She says that from the hundreds of people she has helped reinstate their seller account privileges, none of them were because of an item listed as used. Selling used items, unless they are broken or incomplete, will not increase your chances of getting your seller account suspended.
MYTH – Selling used items means I’ll probably be sourcing them from garage sales or thrift stores. This means I won’t have a sales receipt that I’ll need to protect myself if I ever get an IP or Counterfeit claim from Amazon
TRUTH – While it’s possible to get an IP or Copyright claim for selling a used item on Amazon, it’s highly unlikely. In my 7 years of selling used items on Amazon, I never have received an IP or Copyright claim for a used item I’m selling. This is across all categories. Most of the items that get these claims are new items that are very popular. If you’re selling a used (or collectible) item that you purchased from a garage sale or thrift store, then chances are you only have one of that product. In my experience, most of the items that get IP or Copyright claims are from sellers who are selling multiples of an item that, again, is very new and very popular.
The bottom line is this: If you’re avoiding used items, then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
Your Homework – Look around your house for items that are used, complete, and still have the original box. Think used board games, used electronics, used movies, used books, used video games, etc. Scan these items (I use the Scoutify app) and see at what price other Amazon sellers are selling that item in used (or collectible) condition. If you no longer want these items, then do an experiment and send a few to Amazon. Be sure that the item is complete (including instructions, if applicable), and be sure that you list the condition as detailed as you can in the item description.
Now, I’d love to hear from you. Do you sell used items? If not, what’s stopping you? What used items do you try to stay away from? Do you have any “home run” stories you’d like to share about selling a used item? I’d love to hear from you, so comment below.
I find profitable board games almost every time I go out sourcing to garage sales and thrift stores. In fact, I have discovered the secrets to making hundreds of dollars a week selling new and used board games, and I want to pass on my strategies to you.
While I find profitable board games at garage sales and thrift stores, there are so many other great places to find board games to sell on Amazon. I’ll honestly run out of money before I run out of board games to find and resell. It’s because of this abundance of opportunity that I decided to create The Reseller’s Guide to Board Games: How to Turn Play Money into Real Money.
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