If you want to sell physical products online but don’t have the budget for private labeling, buying items in bulk for resale is an excellent strategy.
Buying in bulk cuts down on per-item costs, provides volume discounts, and often includes free shipping.
In this post, I’ll outline seven items you can purchase in bulk and resell individually to achieve a healthy profit margin.
I’ll also explain the process of purchasing bulk products and where to buy things in bulk to resell.
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7 Best Bulk Items For Resale
The best items to buy in bulk and sell individually are jewelry, phone accessories, plants, candles, collectible cards, pet supplies, and fitness gear.
As the cost of smartphones continues to rise, so does the demand for accessories that provide protection and improve functionality.
The global mobile phone accessories market is set to expand from $82.90 billion in 2021 to $413.22 billion by 2030, with an annual growth rate of 4.3%.
This upward trend presents an opportunity to start a business specializing in phone accessories, including phone cases, car phone holders, wireless phone chargers, and headphones.
These items are lightweight, easy to ship, and require minimal storage, making them ideal for home-based businesses.
To get started, find local wholesale suppliers by searching for the following query on Google:
“phone accessories wholesale” “US” ~accessories
Alternatively, you can explore importing from China, where the cost of production is cheaper due to reduced labor and production expenses.
With new phone models hitting the market frequently, the need for phone protection and style remains constant, ensuring a stable market for your business.
Selling jewelry is profitable due to its broad appeal and its diverse customer base across age, ethnicity, and income.
In addition, jewelry is light and easy to ship with margins exceeding 70%, making it an ideal product to sell online.
To enter this competitive market, you must have a strong value proposition and a point of differentiation. You can stand out by choosing a niche, such as paper jewelry, personalized pieces, enamel pins, or plated jewelry.
For example, Angela Li, a student in my Create A Profitable Online Store Course, runs a successful six-figure online jewelry store, AzuraJewelry.com, specializing in ethically sourced sterling silver pieces.
To find your niche and gauge customer demand, look into online forums, Google Trends, and Etsy. Next, locate a wholesale supplier and set a competitive price, factoring in marketing and shipping expenses.
Jewelry’s compact size simplifies storage and transportation, which makes it an excellent bulk item to resell from the comfort of your home.
Whether you sell handmade, costume, or body jewelry, this industry has huge potential and appeals to a wide audience regardless of gender.
Candles are an excellent bulk item for resale as they are consumable with a consistent buying cycle.
Scented candles in particular are popular among health-conscious consumers for their relaxation and mental well-being benefits and often drive recurring subscriptions.
Candles are easy to mass-produce, and their supplies are cost-effective, which makes wholesale buying budget-friendly. In addition, they require minimal storage space.
The main challenge with selling candles is providing adequate packaging for shipping to prevent wax from melting. As a result, you may need to pay more for expedited delivery and insulated boxes.
You can find affordable wholesale candles online or locally, but be sure to research and understand different wax types, scents, and production timelines before you choose your supplier.
Start by listing your handmade candles on established platforms like Etsy and Amazon Handmade, which have large built-in audiences.
Once you’ve established your presence, create your own ecommerce store. This will help you build your brand while saving on commission fees and retaining customer contact information.
Pet supplies include items like food, toys, grooming tools, leashes, furniture, and collars, that serve the needs of pets.
The pet industry has seen a significant surge in pet ownership, along with a substantial uptick in spending on pet supplies, with the industry expected to reach about $323 billion by 2028.
The best part about selling pet products is that pet owners often indulge their pets with high-quality goods at a premium price.
Moreover, once you’ve obtained a sale, it’s easy to cross sell other related pet products that you offer.
For instance, if a customer buys a leash and is happy with the product, they will probably buy a collar and a harness. .
When deciding on a niche, don’t restrict yourself to cats or dogs. People also keep reptiles, birds, horses, and fish as their pets. If you have a genuine interest or expertise in any of these pet categories, you can build a brand around them.
When you’re researching products, avoid pet food initially. Dealing with pet food can get complex due to licensing and permit requirements, and different pet breeds have varying dietary needs, which can be a challenge when starting out.
Quick tip: Offering customization on pet products can boost your earnings because pet parents love to personalize items with their pet’s names.
Gardening has become a popular stress-relieving pastime since the pandemic and offers an excellent opportunity to buy plants at wholesale prices and sell them for a profit.
However, you must have a genuine interest in plants to understand their seasonal variations and care requirements, which is required for your business’s success.
Start by defining your niche, whether it’s houseplants, outdoor plants, home decor plants, terrariums, or plant subscriptions.
While some sellers grow their own plants, scaling a plant growing operation demands significant space and expertise. Instead, you can buy in bulk from wholesalers.
Regardless, you’ll still need a sunny space to store and care for the plants before they reach their final destination.
Look for local wholesale suppliers that offer favorable deals on plants to reduce shipping costs. Consider sourcing from multiple suppliers to ensure product availability, as some vendors operate seasonally.
The key to success is to build a distinctive brand. Show off your personality with a detailed and interesting About page, maintain an active social media presence, and invest in attractive packaging.
When it comes to selling, explore both local and online options. You can set up booths at local farmers’ markets or partner with retail businesses to sell plants from their premises.
In addition, you can also build your online store and use plant marketplaces such as Plantly or Monsterax for additional reach.
Consumers around the world are becoming more aware of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and are actively investing in it.
The fitness equipment market is expected to hit $15.2 billion, with a 3.5% annual growth rate from 2020 to 2027.
In response to this growing demand, many businesses are offering a wide range of fitness products both online and in physical stores.
You can tap into this market by buying bulk fitness items from liquidation stores and selling them individually to fitness enthusiasts.
You can offer yoga mats, dumbbells, resistance bands, health monitors, fitness trackers, treadmills, and gym clothing.
The most cost-effective approach is to sell heavy equipment locally to minimize shipping expenses. Platforms like Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and Craigslist are the best options for local transactions.
In addition, niche online platforms like Sporting Goods Exchange, SportsListed, and FitnessTrader provide excellent opportunities for selling pre-owned fitness gear.
Collectible trading cards, such as sports cards, Pokemon cards, Magic cards, and WWE Trump cards, offer a fantastic opportunity for bulk resale.
The sports trading cards market, in particular, was valued at $9.69 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach $20.48 billion by 2030, growing annually at 9.01% from 2023 to 2030.
Many people undervalue their card collections, creating an opportunity for you to purchase gaming cards in bulk at low prices and sell them individually for significant profits.
eBay is a prime marketplace for selling collectible cards, with millions in annual sales, especially in categories like baseball and football. eBay’s auction-style listings allow you to set reserve prices and run auctions for various durations.
Rare cards can command significant prices, as seen with the “2015-16 Exquisite Connor McDavid RPA RC NHL SHIELD Patch 1/1 BGS 9.5 w/ 10 AUTO” card, which sold for an impressive $3.3 million in October 2023.
If you’re looking to buy sports cards in bulk, you may need to explore smaller sellers on platforms like Facebook groups, given the high demand and limited supply.
Before you decide to sell, research demand and pricing on dedicated forums and websites, then sell them on your online store, forums, or trade shows at competitive rates. You should also look into niche sport-specific websites in addition to eBay.
Remember, the condition and appearance of gaming cards significantly influence their value. Be honest about the condition and respond to potential buyer inquiries to build a reputation for selling quality cards.
How To Buy In Bulk And Sell Individually?
To buy in bulk and sell individually, start by choosing a sourcing location — whether locally or internationally. Then, you must order samples, negotiate pricing, and set up your own online store or sell on an online marketplace.
Choose The Sourcing Location
Decide if you want to purchase wholesale goods from a domestic or international supplier.
Both have their pros and cons. For instance, using wholesale suppliers in the US offers simpler logistics, as you don’t have to navigate customs, tariffs, and freight forwarder charges.
However, the products may cost more due to higher manufacturing expenses and labor costs.
On the other hand, international sourcing can save you a large amount of money, especially if you import from countries like China or India. You’ll also have access to a broader range of products.
However, communicating with international suppliers can be challenging due to language and time zone differences.
If you’re interested in overseas sourcing, check out my video, where I share my experience importing from India and saving over 37% on products for my online store, Bumblebee Linens.
Find A Supplier
Most small business wholesale suppliers in the US have websites you can easily discover through Google. Alternatively, if you know the brand, you can search for the manufacturer’s website for information about their wholesale distributors.
Smaller wholesalers often sell directly to businesses without involving distributors. They offer wholesale discounts, typically 30-50% off the MSRP. In addition, the minimum order requirement can be as low as a hundred dollars, depending on the specific item and brand.
If you want to purchase bulk items for resale from China, Alibaba is probably the best platform to explore. You can easily reach out to Chinese suppliers with the click of a button to inquire about pricing, minimum order quantities, and lead times.
The best part about Alibaba is you don’t have to travel to Asia to find a reliable supplier.
Feel free to read my article on how to safely buy from Alibaba so you can shop confidently without worrying about being scammed.
Note: Working with multiple wholesale suppliers is a smart move. No single supplier is likely to have everything you need, and it also prevents interruptions in your revenue flow if one supplier faces a product shortage.
Test The Products
Always request samples before you make a wholesale order to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth.
The quality and resale potential of a product is best determined by physically examining it rather than relying solely on online descriptions or images.
Moreover, you can evaluate the quality of customer service and communication, which is an important factor in choosing the right supplier.
Most wholesalers provide the option to order a sample upfront, usually with a small shipping fee. Never haggle over the price of a sample. Negotiating for a sample makes you seem inexperienced and leaves a negative impression on your supplier.
After you’ve reviewed a sample, it’s time to negotiate the prices with the supplier. Negotiation is a standard practice, whether you’re dealing with suppliers in China and India or local ones.
Your ability to negotiate largely depends on your order volume. If it’s your first order and relatively small, your negotiation power will be limited.
Remember that the negotiated price does not include shipping, so you’ll need a separate shipping quote to ensure it doesn’t eat into your profits.
Create Product Listings
After purchasing your bulk inventory, the final step is to list your products in these marketplaces to attract buyers:
- eBay: eBay’s auction listings work great for collectibles, electronics, vintage, luxury, and pre-owned unique items.
- Etsy: Etsy focuses on handmade, vintage, and craft supplies. Handcrafted jewelry, unique home decor, and vintage clothing typically see high demand.
- Amazon: Amazon offers immense reach for new products across categories. Home essentials, books, fitness equipment, and electronics often lead in sales.
- Walmart Marketplace: Like Amazon, Walmart Marketplace offers a wide audience for various products. Baby care, home goods, pet supplies, cleaning supplies, and personal care tend to perform well.
- Instagram Shopping: A visually-driven platform integrated with social media, Instagram Shopping is ideal for lifestyle and beauty products.
- Shopify: An ecommerce platform for building a personalized online store. Unlike other marketplaces on this list, Shopify doesn’t offer readymade traffic but offers freedom in sales and communication, unlike restrictive marketplaces like Amazon.
When creating listings, prioritize high-quality images, detailed descriptions with relevant keywords, and competitive pricing.
Recognize the unique demands of each marketplace. For example, eBay buyers expect more detailed condition reports, while Etsy’s community prefers the story behind each handcrafted piece.
In addition, consider the fees and commission structures of each marketplace when setting your prices. Your profit margins should account for these costs without pricing out potential customers.
Best Online Store Sites For Cheap Wholesale Products
The best online sites for cheap wholesale products are Alibaba, Global Sources, eBay, Costco, Made-In-China, and DHGate.
Alibaba, the world’s largest B2B online trading platform, is a preferred choice for many online sellers looking to source wholesale goods from China.
You can buy wholesale products or create private label products under your own brand.
One of the advantages of using Alibaba is their rigorous vetting process for factories. For many suppliers, Alibaba sends in 3rd party inspectors and provides audit reports to help you identify the best vendors.
In addition, Alibaba offers a service called “Trade Assurance” to ensure the security and fraud protection of all transactions conducted on the platform.
Global Sources is a leading online marketplace connecting buyers with Chinese suppliers specializing in electronics and accessories.
With over 2 million suppliers, Global Sources is considered one of Alibaba’s main competitors.
Suppliers on Global Sources are often more established and offer higher-quality products than those on Alibaba, although minimum order quantities can be higher.
In addition to serving as a supplier directory, Global Sources provides valuable services like product sourcing and logistics to enhance the sourcing experience for buyers.
Moreover, they host the Global Sources Summit in Hong Kong twice a year, known as one of the world’s premier sourcing trade shows, second only to the Canton Fair.
eBay is the second most popular online marketplace in the US, known for new and pre-owned listings.
Unlike the above two platforms, eBay allows both businesses and individuals to sell on their marketplace.
eBay offers auction-style listings and fixed pricing options, allowing buyers to either bid on items or make straightforward purchases.
While eBay has a global presence with users in 180 countries, approximately 80% of their buyers are from the US.
With attractive deals on electronics, home and garden products, toys, automotive items, and fashion, eBay caters to a wide range of consumer needs.
It’s also a preferred platform for purchasing refurbished products and collectibles, such as vintage art and gaming cards.
Costco is an American wholesale business with a membership-based model, operating both online and in over 800 locations in the US and Canada.
Costco’s mission is to sell products in large quantities at affordable prices, encouraging members to make bulk purchases.
Their membership base includes both individual consumers and businesses, allowing the latter to acquire products at lower costs and build profitable ventures.
In addition to a diverse range of products, including electronics, home improvement items, jewelry, and office supplies, Costco members can access the Costco pharmacy for medication purchases.
Made-In-China is an online directory that connects Chinese suppliers with international buyers. The site offers various products, from electronics and machinery to clothing and pet products.
Made In China is the third largest B2B platform in China after Alibaba and Global Sources. However, they specialize in industrial and construction-based products.
Quality assurance is a priority for Made-In-China, with all suppliers verified for product quality. You can access detailed supplier audit reports on every vendor.
With a catalog of over 50 million products, you can easily request quotes and place orders directly with suppliers. Made-In-China also provides valuable services like quality control and logistics assistance.
DHGate is an online marketplace that connects small sellers in China to international buyers worldwide.
The platform offers various products, including apparel, automobile parts, electronics, and jewelry, most without minimum order requirements.
However, most DHGate sellers are resellers, not manufacturers, making it less suitable for finding cost-effective private label suppliers.
Nonetheless, DHGate is a great choice for market testing due to their low MOQ.
Final Thoughts On Buying Bulk Items For Resale
Buying bulk items for resale is a cost-effective way to start a profitable business with modest upfront capital.
When choosing what to sell, pick a reliable wholesaler to get high-quality products. For a list of reliable wholesale suppliers, check the following:
- The Top 42 Wholesale Vendors And Suppliers [Updated For 2023]
- Top 17 USA Wholesale Suppliers For Small Business
- Best 17 China Wholesale Websites To Import Direct From Chinese Factories
Overall, make sure the products you sell resonate with your personal interests and values, especially if this is your first business venture.
Related Posts In How To Find Products To Sell
- Is Alibaba Legit And Safe? 4 Proven Ways To Avoid Scams
- How To Approach A New Wholesale Vendor Or Supplier When You Have No Store, No Site And No Sales
- Why Buying Wholesale Can Be Misleading
- Yiwu Market: A Guide To China’s Largest Wholesale Market
- Canton Fair – My Guide To China’s Largest Wholesale Supplier Trade Show
Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at ProfitableOnlineStore.com.
His blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times, Entrepreneur and MSNBC.
He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.
In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts.
To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store, BumblebeeLinens.com, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.
Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses.