Flip merchandise for cash

The pandemic offers an opportunity for profit

Secondhand surge in marketplace

Let’s take a look at why buying items at lower prices and reselling them might be a profitable business for you. Marketwatch reports that “online secondhand is set to grow 27% in 2020”. Concerns about personal income during and after the pandemic mean that customers today are looking for value buys.

Finding a “buy”

What will happen after the pandemic is anyone’s guess, but this current period may be an optimal time to find buys to resell — now or later. 

Today, many individuals and businesses are trying to raise cash to pay off debts. That means everything, from designer clothing, to furniture to high-end electronics, is being liquidated. While the most resalable items are high-end brands in perfect condition, these aren’t the only products with an active buyer market. 

There’s an exodus of city dwellers moving to the suburbs and rural areas. If you think like a “flipper,” this might also be the optimal time to find high-end labels in secondhand charity stores. If you have room for bigger items, you might get in touch with a moving company to get your hands-on unwanted goods to sell. When people book a mover, they may ask if the mover knows somewhere where they can donate big or heavy items such as books and furniture. This may be a “golden opportunity” to profit-share with the mover and resell items. 

Many businesses are closing up. Restaurants will look to unload equipment, kitchen items and décor. Boutiques will look to sell accessories and displays. 

When you specialize in an area of retail, you get the best result because you have the greatest understanding of selling and asking price.

Snapping up the goodies

Private equity companies are in the business of buying brands either from the brand owner or in a bankruptcy auction. They know that buying or licensing a solid but distressed brand on the cheap is a way to save money and investing in a surer thing. These companies also save on marketing and research as well as development because the brand is proven. 

Brands that go into bankruptcy are prime targets for getting a second lease on life. Many businesses fail to profit because they were late to start selling online. There is a window of opportunity here if they have excess inventory and you can get a site up and attract traffic quickly. Buying a well-known and well-loved local business brand may be a good place to start. You can find bankruptcy and foreclosure auctions happening near you by searching online. 

Marketplaces for resale

We’d bet off-price retailers like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and Overstock are licking their chops and buying designer label merchandise at cut-rate prices as we speak. Online retailers in the same game are Poshmark, Tradesy and ThredUp. 

You don’t have to be a big operator to get in on this action. For a side hustle or a start-up, Craig’s list and Facebook Marketplace may be the best options for moving small merchandise. Both have low to no fees. Get a quick Facebook Marketplace orientation with Lindey Glenn on YouTube.

Caution: Beware of high shipping costs and don’t get blindsided. Reselling in your local market is the cost-effective option because there is no shipping and it’s less competitive. 

Find out what’s moving

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumer priorities and created a homebody economy. Demand is up in comfort wear, board games, bakeware, craft tools, webcams and stress reduction items. 

Maybe you can spot the next big thing and make cash brokering items from sellers to buyers. 

About the authors

Aileen Ghee, NYWIB Director of Marketing
Burt Wallerstein, SCORE Mentor
Hiba Slimani, NYWIB Researcher and Copywriter


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