Being successful means finding your niche and staying on top of it. That's what one Top Rated Seller and eBayer of more than 10 years believes.
Jay DiNucci runs Exposure Game, an eBay store specializing in electronics and accessories. His listings start as low as 99 cents and can go as high as $2,499. And although he describes his inventory as a 50/50 mix of niche items and consumer products, he sells everything from cordless phone batteries to computer cables.
DiNucci, a father of three and CFO of a video-game development company in Dallas, got his start on eBay by chance, and stayed because he realized it could be a great way to put his kids through college, he says.
His boss at the time had excess inventory that he would practically "give away" to liquidators, he tells us. But DiNucci cut a deal with his boss that launched his eBay career.
"I showed him that he could make more money by allowing me to sell the products through eBay," he explains. "Things sold slower than I anticipated as the products were seasonal; however, he was happy with the results and I got the bug to make money selling on eBay."
Since then, he has transformed a part-time hobby into a "full-time second job" during peak selling seasons.
Sourcing products for success
With 200 to 400 listings on any given day, DiNucci definitely stays busy. To keep a steady flow of items going through his store, he sources products from liquidation sites like Genco Marketplace and B-Stock, he says.
He typically looks for things there is a demand for, but that may also be unavailable elsewhere.
"I try to find things that haven't been in stock, or have been in someone's warehouse for a while," DiNucci explains.
That's why, in his store, you'll find quirky products, like a roll of "security enclosed" label stickers for DVDs, or a collection of vintage PC video games.
To stay ahead of the curve, DiNucci pays attention to trends and does his best to exploit sudden surges of interest in niche products.
I try to find things that haven't been in stock, or have been in someone's warehouse for a while
DiNucci recently worked out a deal with a guy who had thousands of parts for RC helicopters, he says. Now he sells the parts, which range from tail blade sets to replacement balls.
In the past, he sold baby monitors on eBay while people were returning them or breaking them down for parts, he recalls. In fact, selling the monitors became so popular that DiNucci recruited his teenage son to keep up with the demand.
The two sold so many baby monitors that DiNucci's son caught the eBay bug himself, he says.
"He worked very hard at building his online business and became very successful," DiNucci tells us. "He was so successful that he even hired a couple of his high school friends to help him. From this experience he found his real desire to go into business. This is what he is currently studying in college."
Maintaining a sterling reputation
Being a Top Rated Seller is very important to DiNucci, as is his reputation.
At this writing, DiNucci has a 99.8% positive feedback rating, and he works very hard to maintain it, he says. But protecting his online selling reputation can be challenging at times.
"On eBay, there are people looking to take advantage of sellers," he tells us. "And that is something that is very discouraging at times. I've actually seen it get better this last year or so, but for a couple years it was very discouraging."
DiNucci says the hardest thing about keeping his rating high is some people will leave negative feedback over something like a shipping issue before he can even try to remedy it.
Because of this, selling can be a tricky business, he says. And people looking to try it should be cautious.
Know your supplier, as selling counterfeit products can prove costly, both legally and to your online reputation
"Know what what you sell," he advises. "Don't just buy anything."
Sellers should be knowledgeable about their inventory, not only to help answer buyers' questions, but to avoid costly mistakes. If you aren't educated about your products, he points out, you could fall victim to scams.
DiNucci learned this lesson the hard way. "I purchased some electronics from a flea market vendor that turned out to be knockoffs," he laments. "Know your supplier, as selling counterfeit products can prove costly, both legally and to your online reputation."
Selling is its own reward
Despite some of these drawbacks, DiNucci says he truly enjoys what he does.
When asked what he likes most about eBay selling, DiNucci said: "Finding the gem in the junk you buy."
He's always finding new things to sell, and enjoys the thrill of the hunt.
"I enjoy (selling), and I enjoy supplementing my income with it," he says. "And it keeps you busy."