February 09, 2013, 7:30 AM — Whether you're cleaning out your closet, reselling items that you purchased at a sample sale, or selling your own original works of art, apps can help you stay on top of your online reselling ventures.
I run my own small reselling business. I purchase items at retail sample sales--giant sales that retail businesses hold to get rid of extra merchandise, usually at a significant discount--and then I sell them on eBay for a profit. My reselling business doesn't exactly pay the bills, but it does bring in a decent amount of extra income. Since I'm based in the San Francisco Bay Area, traveling to these sample sales (which often take place in Los Angeles or New York) puts me on the road a lot, with little more than my mobile phone for company. Luckily, I can use my phone to check and manage my eBay auctions, track my expenses, log inventory, and even create listings.
Here are five apps that I use to stay on top of my reselling business.
eBay is a reseller's most valuable resource, and its mobile app is pretty helpful, too. The eBay app lets you manage and track the items you're selling, communicate with potential buyers through the eBay messaging system, and even sell items directly from your mobile phone.
The eBay app has a couple of important features for resellers. First, its search function allows you to search eBay for whatever item you plan on selling. It's always a good idea to run a search for an item before posting it for sale (and perhaps before purchasing it for resale), because you'll be able to see what it's selling for on the auction site, and hence what price you can reasonably ask for. You can search the eBay app by using key words or by scanning a UPC, EAN, or QR code; and you can refine your search to show completed listings or sold items only. Searching for completed listings will let you know if other sellers are successfully selling the items you're looking to sell. Searching for sold items will let you know the prices that the items are going for.
Use the eBay app to track your active listings, to relist unsold items, to accept or reject best offers on items that have a fixed price, and to answer buyer's questions through the eBay messaging system. You can also list new items. Though using the phone app to create a new item listing is harder than using your primary computer, posting your item right away can help ensure that your auction ends at the right time. (Hint: you'll sell more items if your auctions end on Sunday afternoons.) In addition, eBay occasionally offers mobile listing promotions, such as not imposing final value fees if your item sells. This can save you quite a bit of money, since final value fees come to around 9 percent of the total sale price of your item.
If you resell through eBay, you probably accept PayPal payments. But just because you have the eBay app doesn't mean you shouldn't also download the PayPal app. PayPal's app lets you track your PayPal account balance, which is helpful for resellers who want to ensure that they've been paid.
Because payments post to your PayPal account instantaneously, checking your PayPal account is a simple way to determine whether you've received payment for an item. The eBay app will alert you when a buyer makes a payment, but it's still a good idea to double-check your PayPal account to confirm that payments have posted before you ship items.
You can also use the PayPal app, as a reseller, to send payments to users (for example, if you want to offer a refund), request money (for example, if you want to do an off-eBay transaction), or find local businesses that accept PayPal payments. PayPal transactions are sometimes covered through seller and buyer protection, so you don't have to worry about foul play.