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Reselling items you no longer need is a cost-effective way to supplement your income while decluttering your house. Instead of letting unused items lie around, rot or rust, you can sell them off to earn money.

But reselling goes beyond selling items you no longer need. You can build a small business out of it and gain financial freedom. And it’s achievable from the comfort of your home.

However, you must follow the proper steps to become a successful online reseller. This guide explores the basics of running a profitable online reselling business.

Reselling business: The basics

A reseller is an individual or business entity that buys products from a supplier. Resellers often put their products through a handcrafting or renovation process. Then the items are resold to a consumer at a marked-up price to make a profit.

Resellers typically buy products from manufacturers, wholesalers or retailers. However, they can also buy second-hand goods at flea markets, garage sales, estate sales or distributors. Resellers post their items for sale on their website, marketplaces like eBay and programs like Amazon Renewed.

Is reselling profitable?

Reselling is profitable. But your potential revenue depends on the type of product you’re selling, the level of demand for that product and the competition you’ll face. Business overheads also impact your overall profitability since you’ll have to use your revenue to cover the business’s costs.

Products with high demand, low supply and less competition attract higher profit margins. Identify these golden opportunities by conducting in-depth market research.

The pros and cons of running a reselling business

Like any other business, online reselling has its pros and cons.

The pros and cons of a reselling business.


You can run an online reselling business part-time or full-time. As a beginner, you can create a single-product website and run it as a side hustle. Selling one product is less demanding than building and maintaining listings for several products simultaneously.

Alternatively, you can run a reselling business full-time and offer multiple products. You’ll spend most of your time sourcing new products, marketing the business, managing customers and fulfilling orders.

Certain types of products fetch more profits than others. Products with high demand, low supply and low competition are more profitable. The goal is to find products that aren’t readily available at a local store.

Scaling an online reselling business is relatively easy. For starters, you don’t necessarily need a bigger warehouse to hold more products. You can ask your supplier to ship directly to your customers. This curtails your overheads.

To reach more customers, put more time and money into your marketing campaigns. And when you need to accommodate more people visiting your website, simply upgrade your hosting plan to the next tier.

Reselling has a low barrier to entry. Once you have a product, reselling is accessible to everyone — it’s inexpensive to set up an online storefront and digital marketing, and the steps are thoroughly established.

Due to this simplicity, competition abounds. The good news is that your chances of succeeding increase with a solid business plan focusing on a lucrative niche, providing value and fostering customer loyalty.


It can be time-consuming and challenging to source products. Finding the right product is key to your success as an online reseller. And this process can be overwhelming because there are seemingly infinite options.

If you need an initial sense of direction, note the next section of this guide includes profitable reseller business ideas to pursue.

You have less control over the quality of products you sell. Since you don’t manufacture products, thoroughly vet your suppliers before agreeing to work with them.

Low-quality products damage your reputation, slow sales and harm customers. Many resellers put in their own work to improve the quality of the final product.

Business opportunities for an online reseller

While reselling is an incredibly versatile approach to business, some opportunities are typically more profitable than others. Here are some of the best.

Start a dropshipping business

Dropshipping is a business model where individuals or companies sell goods without stocking any inventory. These sellers make a storefront promoting products made by an agreed-upon supplier.

Once an order is placed, the dropshipper forwards the order details to their supplier. The supplier delivers the product to the customer but also takes a cut of the profit. The dropshipper keeps the rest.

Dropshipping is legal in the U.S. and is one of the most affordable ways to earn money as an online reseller. To get started, choose a high-demand product, find a reliable supplier and build an online store.

Flip second-hand products on marketplaces

Some online resellers deal in second-hand products on marketplaces.

Flipping second-hand goods means buying items in order to sell them at a marked-up price and keep the difference as profit.

To flip products, visit an online marketplace like eBay, Craigslist, Etsy or Facebook Marketplace. Browse the marketplace to find a product to sell. Each platform has millions of listings in tons of niches for you to choose from.

When you find a product with potential, order it. Adding value to the item by repairing or redecorating it will fetch an even higher price.

Make a listing for the product, upload high-quality product images and write compelling product descriptions that outline the attributes and benefits of the item.

High visibility is a major benefit of selling on online marketplaces. Consumers are always searching for and being recommended products — they’ll find your product naturally, provided you have the right descriptors in your listing.

Resell vintage electronics

An item is considered vintage when it’s over 20 but less than 100 years old. That means electronics from the ‘90s are fair game as long as they still work. The more rare, aged and pristine the device is, the higher your price tag can be.

Some common vintage electronic devices you can resell are phones, turntables and boomboxes.

When you hear “vintage,” you probably don’t think “iPhone.” But a first-generation iPhone in its original packaging sold for over $63,000 at an auction. The lesson: Keep an eye out for non-traditional finds.

Resell jewelry and accessories

Try reselling jewelry and accessories.

People wear jewelry for many different reasons. From pearl necklaces to diamond rings to hoop earrings, the demand for jewelry will never go out of season. In 2022, Grand View Research valued the global jewelry market at $340.69 billion.

You can find brand-new or second-hand jewelry and resell it at higher prices. To ensure product quality, you’re best off finding sellers in your area so you can meet them and inspect items before purchase.

In addition to jewelry, you can sell accessories like watches, eyeglasses and hats.

How to become a reseller

1. Research the market.

2. Choose and validate a niche.

3. Create a business plan.

4. Source your products.

5. Launch your resale business.

6. Register your business and get a reselling license

7. Market your products 

With adequate planning and timely execution, you can become a successful online reseller. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started.

Research the market

Research to gain a holistic perspective of market trends, demographic layout, market size, level of competition, potential threats and opportunities.

Adequate market research increases your chances of success as an online reseller. The information you uncover in this phase gives you enough context to make smart decisions and hone the viability of your business ideas.

Choose and validate a niche

First, pick a market segment — a group of people connected by a similar interests. For example, sports lovers. Then, identify smaller, more specific audiences in that market. For example: Sports memorabilia collectors — or even more niche, NBA memorabilia collectors.

When you pick a niche, you can focus precisely on understanding a specific type of person and meet their needs more accurately.

Here are key questions to help you define your niche:

  • Who needs this product?
  • Can you accurately describe why they need it?
  • Are they willing to pay for the product?
  • What’s the size of the market?
  • How many competitors have similar products?
  • Do you consider yourself an expert in this niche?

Try getting a few products, marketing to potential customers and asking for feedback. Then, listen to their feedback and act on it to improve your product and presentation.

Create a business plan

These are the benefits of creating a business plan.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 20% of new businesses fail within the first two years. But, with a business plan, yours can be an exception.

A business plan documents your company’s plans to achieve its goals. It helps you create strategies in finance, procurement, customer services, pricing and marketing.

Follow these steps to create a good business plan:

  • Write an executive summary describing your mission, vision, products and your growth plans.
  • Include information about your niche and target buyer.
  • Create a marketing strategy. How do you intend to reach the customer?
  • Define your operational plan. What arrangements will you make in order to provide your services and create your products?
  • Create a financial plan. How are you going to fund the business? What are your income projections?

For more detailed steps, read on how to create a business plan.

Source your products

Different businesses have different sourcing needs. While a dropshipper has to find a supplier for their business, a reseller of vintage items has to find individual sellers to buy from and build up their stock.

Some entrepreneurs opt to work directly with manufacturers to get custom products. And others might use marketplaces to buy second-hand products.

No method is strictly better than the other. The most important thing is understanding your ideal customer and having the best product to address their needs.

Launch your resale business

After sourcing your products, it’s time to build a channel through which your clients will buy. A sales channel can be a physical store, a social media account, an online marketplace or a website.

Since marketplaces and social networks don’t give you much control over your storefront, consider building an online shop with WooCommerce. You can sell anything you want on it after a setup that only takes a few minutes.

Register your business and get a reselling license

Consider the legal documents needed to run a reselling business.

Before you start selling, get your legal affairs in order. Register your business with the government and get the requisite business permits.

To run a resale business efficiently, get a reseller license to avoid paying sales tax. That way, you’ll pass on the sales tax to your customers and collect it on behalf of the government.

Businesses are required to maintain financial records for tax purposes. However, tax policies vary from state to state if you reside in the U.S. Look into the business laws of your local government and ensure you comply from the onset.

Market your products

A marketing strategy lays out a plan to spread awareness about your store and products. Paid advertising is one of the most effective ways to reach consumers — from Google ads to Facebook ads to TikTok ads, there’s no shortage of platforms to gain attention on.

However, paid advertising costs money and doesn’t guarantee results, especially if you don’t have experience managing ads.

In contrast, an option with less financial risk is to create blog posts, social posts, videos or other content and become trusted by your target audience. If you generate buzz around your business and start a community, some of that audience will become paying customers.

Tips for succeeding as an online reseller

Despite having its challenges, online reselling is achievable if you follow the best practices below.

Price your product well

Use these strategies to price your products.

Pricing your products starts with identifying potential customers and how much they’re willing to pay. Excessively low prices often create an impression of poor quality. In contrast, overly high prices give people a reason to look elsewhere.

You already know that your pricing must cover the costs of offering the product. Therefore, start with the cost-plus pricing strategy, basically adding a markup to your cost of goods.

But to get the best profit margin feasible, consider other strategies, including:

  • Competitive pricing: Set your prices based on what your competition is charging.
  • Price skimming: Start with a high price when the product is new, then gradually lower it as you see more competition.
  • Penetration pricing: Undercut your competition with a low price, then increase it once you gain a loyal customer base.
  • Value-based pricing: Price your product based on what your customers consider it worth.

Switch between strategies until you find what works for your business.

Provide detailed product information

Very detailed product information builds trust with potential customers and ensures they know what they’re getting before making a purchase.

This involves taking high-quality photos of your products in a well-lit environment. For example, if you sell clothes, take close-up photos of the fabric, seam lines and patterns.

In the description area, provide a detailed rundown, including everything that would affect the reader’s usage, such as sizing information. Customers shouldn’t have any questions after poring over the product page.

To avoid disappointing customers, be upfront with them and avoid exaggerations.

Optimize your marketing strategy

Strategize, take action, refine and repeat.

While it’s possible you land several customers on your first day, the entrepreneurial journey isn’t always so rosy.

If a marketing strategy doesn’t work for you the first time, change a few variables, track the changes and keep trying until you see results.

For example, if you’re working with an influencer and aren’t seeing the engagement you want, partner with another influencer instead of giving up on the marketing strategy. Alternatively, ask the influencer to change how they position your product.

If you want to become profitable as an online reseller, keep optimizing your marketing strategy.

Bonus tip

Customers love free shipping. You can offer inexpensive or free shipping by incorporating the shipping costs in your final prices. Display this free shipping prominently so your customers are aware and excited about it.

Final thoughts: How to become a reseller and profit in 2023

A profitable reselling business is achievable with the right mindset, strategies and tools. However, even with adequate research and preparation, you won’t go far without branding.

Branding is vital to your eCommerce success because it allows you to stand out from the competition. That’s why successful business owners create a website, buy a domain name and choose a reliable web hosting provider like Bluehost.

At Bluehost, we understand the complexities of running a fully functional eCommerce store. That’s why we offer full-service professional web design and marketing services to adeptly manage your website while you focus on growing your business.

Our team of experts is ready to build you a mobile-friendly website that accepts payments and propels your resale business to profitability.

How to become a reseller: FAQs

What is the best platform for a reseller?

Different platforms are suited for different purposes. For instance, eBay is best for selling new items, Poshmark is great for selling second-hand fashion items and Etsy is the spot for antique items.

How much does it cost to start a reselling business?

A reselling business can cost you nothing. It depends on your budget and the types of products you want to sell. To save money, consider selling items you already own but no longer need — you can even ask your friends and family to hand over their unwanted stuff.

What is the difference between reselling and dropshipping?

The main difference between reselling and dropshipping lies in the ownership of inventory. Resellers hold inventory and handle shipping when a customer makes a purchase. Dropshippers do not hold any stock. They outsource fulfillment services to a third party, usually a supplier.

What kinds of goods are best to start online reselling?

The best products to start selling online are high-demand products with low competition. These products should cater to a specific market and solve an established need.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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1 Comment

  1. This article offers a comprehensive guide on how to start an online reselling business and make a profit in 2023. It provides valuable insights into the basics of reselling, its profitability, and the pros and cons of this business model.

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