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The coronavirus pandemic going on has created this crisis situation that’s affecting the entire world. People are being forced to either work from home or are being let go from their jobs altogether. So you might be thinking: How is my reselling business going to survive a crisis like this? 

Having an online business right now is such a blessing because 1) you’re in control of your income, 2) social isolation won’t affect you as much and 3) working from home with kids is at least a feasible option. 

While those positives are true, this doesn’t mean that your reselling business won’t be affected by all of this. How you respond will determine if the outcome is positive or negative. 

Whether you sell on ebay, Poshmark, or other reselling platforms, all reselling businesses have fundamental commonalities so these strategies and tips can apply to any type of reselling business. Even though the world might feel a little crazy right now, you can focus on the opportunity this gives you for your business. Things you normally don’t have time for can suddenly get the attention they need. 

Here are tips and strategies for how your reselling business can survive during a crisis. Right now it’s the coronavirus crisis, but these tips could apply to any crisis situation you may find yourself facing. 

Change your sourcing strategy

With everything going around, you may want to avoid going shopping at thrift stores. Though a plus side could be that there arent many people out shopping so you might not come in contact with many others. But let’s just say that you don’t feel comfortable exposing yourself by going shopping. What options do you have for getting inventory for your reselling business? 

There are actually a few ways to source inventory without having to leave or if you do, it wouldn’t be for long or coming in contact with many people. Some examples include shopping online or buying items locally in bulk. For more ideas of how to source inventory when you’re limited on the ability to get out, check out this article. 

Get through the death piles

Ah, the ever famous “death pile”. All the stuff that you keep buying and never seem to get to starts to pile up. Well now that you’re staying at home more, you can actually go through the death piles. This is a great way to get new listings up and clear out some space and have your work space looking much neater. 

Take this time to organize your business

This is one of those things that you keep meaning to get to, but when you’re focusing on listing and sourcing all the time, it just gets pushed aside. Well, now’s your chance. Look at your business and see where you can improve organization or systems to help you work more efficiently. Would it be helpful if your photo area was setup differently to make taking pictures faster? Maybe you could use a different inventory system to organize everything to make shipping faster. Now would be the time to go through and work on things like that. 

Go through your inventory and check for items that need to be relisted

Sometimes there are items in your inventory but they aren’t actually listed on any platform. They may have been listed at some point but for whatever reason, now they aren’t. I know for me this happened a lot when ebay had the option to do 30 day listings. When a listing would end, I would get too busy, forget to relist it and then after a certain amount of time, ebay would delete it from the unsold category, too. So it went into limbo: still in my inventory but not listed. 

It’s good practice to go trhough your inventory to check for unlisted items every quarter or so. The bonus is that if you find items, you can list them so it’s like finding more inventory to stock your store with. 

Weekly reseller planner sheets

Get these free weekly planner sheets just for resellers!

Weekly Checklist

Brain dump all the weekly to-dos for your business

WEekly Overview

Organize when you'll do your weekly tasks and track your store stats

Update stale listings

This one gets forgotten sometimes but taking the time to go back over your listings to improve them can be helpful. Look for items that haven’t sold in awhile or maybe items that you thought would’ve sold faster but haven’t. For these listings, you can tweak some things to potentially increase the chance they’ll sell. Here are some examples: 

  • Update the titles to optimize for search
    • Just like Google, reselling platforms like ebay have a search algorithm to help buyers find the items their looking for. Do a quick search of the basic type of item you’re selling and see what words pop up under it. Those are the most common searched terms for that item. You can then use these clues to reformat your own title to be better found in search. 
  • Rework the description
    • Maybe the first go around you forgot to include measurements or you were working quickly and put a minimal description. Now’s your chance to go back and add the info needed to give your buyer peace of mind about their choice to buy online from you. 
  • Evaluate the price
    • Overtime, the market changes. Take a look at what recent items have sold for and what the other current offerings are. 
  • Retake the pictures
    • Sometimes all a listing needs is some new pictures. Maybe the right time around you were in a hurry and didn’t include as many images. The more pictures included can help your listing rank in search and overall helps the buyer feel more comfortable purchasing something online. 

Change the type of inventory 

There are a few different perspectives to consider when it comes to people shopping online during a national or global crisis situation.

As people are facing layoffs and the uncertainty that comes with situations like this, they may be less likely to spend their money on more frivolous items like an extra pair of boots or that rare toy they’ve been eyeballing. With this in mind, if you focus your listing efforts on items that people might be needing right now, then that could help keep your sales coming in strong.

Some examples might be health and beauty or baby items. While this is helpful to people, this does NOT mean price gauging. Not only is this unethical but ebay will shut you down if they sense that you are doing that on purpose for items people need in a crisis. I’m sure you’d never do anything like that, but I had to say it. 

On the other hand, there are also a lot of people that are laid off that aren’t worried about their finances. They might be salaried or simply have enough savings and cash flow that something like this is actually a nice reprieve from their normal hustle and bustle of life.

People in this boat may be buying things online that they haven’t had the time to buy before. Maybe they really want another copy of a vintage record album they once had or they’re going ahead and buying gifts for future birthdays and anniversaries. 

Another aspect to consider of this coronavirus pandemic and social distancing is that families are often stuck at home. Parents are often looking for things for their kids to do that doesn’t involve screen time. Think of listing items that create family entertainment, such as board games, card games, etc.

Overall, your sales might go down but with a shift in the types of items you’re offering, they just might flourish. With ebay, you’ve got the entire world as a market so you never know what people are searching for. 

Final Thoughts

Anytime there’s a crisis, all the uncertainty can feel uncomfortable. The best thing to do with your reselling business right now is to look at the bright side. You have a lot of time to really dive into your business in areas you may have been putting on the backburner for awhile. 

I’d love to hear any tips you have for helping your reselling business thrive during a crisis. Comment below with your ideas. 

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