How to Thrift For Profit to Sell on eBay, Poshmark, Etsy & Mercari!

Seller's Corner
How to Thrift For Profit to Sell on eBay, Poshmark, Etsy & Mercari!

If you are a reseller, it is probably because you have turned your love of thrifting into a business! Thrifting is so much fun, and nothing compares to the rush you get when you find treasures at the thrift store!


Thrifting for profit is a lot different than thrifting for personal items. It can be tough to score things at the right price to flip for a profit online. 


The goal is to achieve a low enough cost of goods (COG) to be sure that you can secure a lucrative return on investment (ROI), while also considering the value of your time that it takes to process and sell items. 


Here are some tips and tricks for how to thrift for profit and sell things online on marketplaces like Poshmark, eBay, Mercari, Depop, Etsy and more.


You might also like: 10 Great Marketplaces Every Reseller Should Consider 


1. Find the Best Thrift Stores

Where are you thrifting? There are so many places to purchase second-hand items for resale. In addition to the commercial “chain stores” such as Goodwill, Value Village, Savers, etc., there are many private smaller brick-and-mortar stores, charity thrift stores, and church thrift stores. 


The best thrift stores are not only those with the lowest prices, but the best selection, that frequently stock new items.

Thrifting Tip: Be sure to sign up for all of the rewards programs that might be available at your thrift stores. Also, follow them on social media to see sale days and promotions. 

Learn about the thrifting opportunities near you and explore! Thrifting is such a fun adventure.

You may also be interested in the article How To Source Inventory For Free or With a Low Budget.


2. Search the Thrift Store Thoroughly

Thrifting requires patience and careful searching! You never know which gems might be hidden between the tightly-packed hangers on the rack! 


When thrifting for things to resell, try to touch every single item at the store. If it is a quick trip, pick a section to analyze carefully, examining each and every item as you go! 

Thrifting Tip: A great tip for when you just can’t bring yourself to touch 400 pairs of black leggings is to browse items with only the color tags of the sale. While you will miss a lot, you’ll be browsing the best deals!


3. Be Very Selective!

As a reseller, focus on quality over quantity. 


One of my personal reselling goals is to work smarter, not harder, by sourcing more exclusively. I would rather sell one item for $50 than 5 items for $10 each, especially considering all of the work that goes into processing, listing, and shipping! 


When sourcing, establish some flexible rules for yourself about what you are going to source. For example: “I won’t buy it unless I think it can resell for at least xx dollars.” 

Browsing your seller analytics, you should have an idea of the type of items that sell best for you. Of course, keep an eye out for desirable brands and trending styles. 

In addition to desirable brands, there are some things that will always sell; including things that people need like uniform-wear and workwear, electronics, and sport and music related “merch.” Check out this article I wrote about the best things to sell online for a profit.

Another thing to look for is quality. You can literally see and feel the quality in some pieces, in comparison with those next to them on the racks. Sewn-in tags, thicker and softer material, and just things that look and feel nice are worth a second glance. If you find something that you think is special, a quick search will help you determine the MSRP and resale range for that type of item. 


4. Check Comps: Know the Resale Value 


Keep profit in mind. Resale is not the same as retail. Generally, you will yield more profit on items that originally sold for more money… but this is not always true. Just because an item is of a “desirable brand” does not mean it has a high resale value. Style is important, too. Some brands (like Michael Kors have a very high retail value and surprisingly low resale value) due to over-saturation, ever-changing trends, and just a lack of demand.

SellHound has a great comp-checking tool that scans multiple reselling marketplaces for comps, providing a report of average asking price as well as average sold price for similar items. This is a great and quick tool to use when you’re out thrifting! 

5. Inspect Items For Condition

After you’ve chosen the best pieces you can find, don’t forget to carefully inspect the condition of the items before you check out. Remember that so many things end up at the thrift store only because of a flaw- and sometimes it can be tough to see a missing button or broken zipper. 

Obviously, you will make more profit for items in excellent condition, so do not skip this step!


6. Be Subjective When Sourcing


One of the most difficult parts of sourcing inventory is remembering that your personal opinions on brand or style don’t matter. The market demand is what matters! While I personally think Crocs are absolutely hideous, people love those ugly things and they are a great item to flip for a profit. 


It is not as much fun to sell things that we do not like, but separating your personal opinions is key! When you are too-selective, you’re leaving money on the table! 


7. Be Consistent

While some days you’ll find tons of treasures, others you will leave the store empty-handed.  As a reseller, you’re competing with consumers and other resellers in the thrift stores. It is good to learn about when new items are put on the floor at your favorite thrift stores! 


To maintain a profitable business, you need to source consistently. If you don’t source frequently, you’ll subconsciously begin to buy lesser quality items because you’ll need enough inventory to hold you over until your next sourcing trip.  


What are your best thrifting tips? Where do you find items to sell for a profit online? Share with us below!

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