This little niche has given me the best bragging rights and ROI (Return on Investment) of any item we’ve ever sold online!
Selling Rare VHS tapes on Amazon can be a highly profitable little niche. We don’t sell VHS tapes everyday, but I bet someone does.
MY BIG RARE VHS SALE
I picked up a Brand New, sealed in plastic copy of The Thirteenth Day at a local Salvation Army thrift. I paid a lot for the tape; $1.50 I believe, but the VHS tape listed on Amazon for an unbelievable $93, so I pulled the trigger.
The tape already had an Amazon listing in place, so it was easy to list when we got home. Lo and behold, a month later we sold that VHS tape for $93, plus shipping! All I can figure is that movie was somebody’s 15 minutes of fame and they were willing to pay big bucks for a New copy!( BTW, we gave the customer a free shipping upgrade to Priority Mail just to keep them happy).
What makes Rare VHS tapes such a good niche?
- Rarity-Thousands of VHS tapes never made it to DVD
- Lightweight and cheap to ship
- Plentiful in Thrift stores
- Very High ROI potential
- Niche and Instructional Videos sell well
Rarity and Condition are the keys. A new or used copy of a popular movie that’s readily available on DVD won’t fetch anything. But there are many rare movies that were produced on VHS and never made it to DVD!
Let me give you an example. Ever heard of Bunny’s Tale? It was a film Kirstie Allie did early in her career. The film wasn’t very popular and it hasn’t been produced on DVD- probably never will. I sold a used copy for $14 on Amazon. My cost?….25 cents!
HERE’S HOW WE SHOP
1. I scour the VHS racks in thrift stores/ garage sales for VHS that are preferably New-still sealed in plastic or Like New and Rare. To determine rarity, I ask myself, “Have I ever heard of this film? Is it a classic?” Since I watch a lot of movies, I figure if I haven’t heard of it, it’s probably a good candidate. I scan the shelves and gather an armful of potential candidates.
2. Next I scan the potential candidates I’ve found with my Amazon PriceCheck iPhone App to determine value. I’m looking for VHS tapes that sell for over $10. Higher is better and doable!
3. I try very hard to NEVER pay over .50 cents for a VHS tape unless it sells on Amazon for a great price!
4. I bring the tapes home, give the plastic on the New/Sealed in Plastic VHS a wipe down with Goo Gone, list on Amazon and then send them off via Amazon FBA so that Amazon can do the fulfillment. Then I wait for the email telling me Amazon has sold another VHS tape!
ANOTHER TRUE STORY
I picked up a New, sealed in plastic copy of the Thornbird min-series. There were 3 VHS tapes altogether. I believe I paid $1 for the whole set. I’ve sold that series twice on Amazon for $39!!
Don’t forget to check out Documentaries, Foreign films and Instructional VHS too. I just bought a New/Sealed in plastic copy of an instructional VHS teaching How To Make Miniature Victorian Doll Furniture. Think that’s a niche with some demand? You’re right! I paid .50 cents for the VHS and it lists on Amazon for $49. Wow!
A Tip- We used to sell a lot of DVDs on Amazon, but we’ve noticed that demand is dropping off as more folks stream their shows via Netflix, etc. Not so with Rare VHS… at least so far!
Here’s a quick list of VHS tapes to watch for:
New-Sealed in Plastic Classic Films
Movies you’ve Never Heard Of!
Concerts and Musical Performances
How To Instructional Videos
Here’s some link to a great article on selling Rare VHS Online:
Be sure and share about your big score or an online niche you’ve discovered. Be sure and leave a comment below!
INTRODUCING JAZZ, WORLD MUSIC, FOLK AND OTHER NICHE MUSIC CDs
Rare and Unusual CDs can be a very profitable niche for the online seller. Let’s begin with a true story…….
One summer day my wife and I chanced upon a garage sale where a youngish college student was selling a boatload of obscure CDs. The CDs were all by artists and bands I’d never heard of. Being a former professional musician, I’m aware of lots of types of music and bands, but these were all new to me.
After looking at the type of music she was offering (African music, jazz, obscure World Music) and the quality (scratch-free, almost like new) I just knew those puppies would sell like hot cakes. I offered to buy all her CDs for $40 (I got over 70,..so that’s less than a $1 each). She was pleased and we scooted home to see how they would list on Amazon.
I listed one of the African music CDs by a musician named Fela (turns out he’s very popular) and sold it within 2 days for close to $20. Whoo Hoo! I was hooked. It took about six months, but I sold all the CDs and made hundreds of dollars in profit. Since then, I’ve bought two other lots of old jazz CDs and had similar success.
Bottom Line- finding the right kind of CD at the right price can be a great niche to add to your selling strategy.
GREAT TIP: Consider buying all the CDs in a lot if they fit in our niche. The garage sale/ church rummage sale folks will usually be glad to get rid of all them at once. If they’re hesitant, tell them that CDs usually don’t sell well and they may be left with a lot of unsold product if they don’t consider you offer. Try very hard to keep your cost per CD at under $1. I shoot for 50 cents or even 25 cents per CD. These prices are ideal in order to stay in the GOLDEN STRATEGY (see below) and very doable, if you offer them a lot price.
PROs and CONs of CDs
PROs- Niche music CDs are lightweight to ship. Be sure and clean the CD jewel case with Goo Be Gone to get all the scuff marks off.
(Tip- if you like selling CDs consider buying a CD/DVD disc cleaner and a box of new CD jewel cases. We did this and now we can turn scratched up CDs into a Like New product!)
The margins can be very good. Lots of obscure CDs sell over $10 on Amazon.com.
CDs list easily on Amazon. Be sure and describe the condition honestly and accurately. For our lisitings we use the ‘sandwhich technique’ – Good/Bad/Good. An ex. would be, “Rare recording; Like New CD; some scratches to jewel case; fast 1st class shipping; hole punched in liner notes; Guaranteed.”
CDs are small and easy to store.
CDs are easy to ship and you can always get a little profit out of the Amazon shipping allowance. Because CDs ship in a hard jewel case, you don’t need a lot of bubble wrap or extra padding to keep you CD safe in the mail.We ship our CD’s wrapped in a single sheet of bubble wrap in a manilla envelope. It’s nearly always cheapest to ship a CD as a 1st Class parcel through USPS. If you create your postage online via Stamps.com or Endicia.com, then you can get Delivery Confirmation for under .20.
GREAT TIP – This niche is one that fits well into our GOLDEN STRATEGY. The GOLDEN STRATEGY is to buy product niches that are:
- cheap to buy
- easy to store
- lightweight, so they’re cheap to ship
- offer a high profit margin.
CONs- None, unless you buy the wrong kind of CDs (see below).
Here’s the kind of music to look for AND what to avoid…….
Jazz of any kind except Kenny G and similar ‘pop’ jazz artists.
World Music (except for Yanni)
Obscure Rock Groups from the 60-70’s (ex. Hawkwind- ever heard of them?)
Hawaiian or Ukulele music
Music featuring unusual instruments (zither, autoharp, tin whistle, etc,..)
Note: I used to avoid Classical music, but recently bought a lot of Classical CDs at an estate sale and got the price down to .25 each. Many of the CDs have sold and we always make a little on the shipping.
Pretty much anybody that is popular unless the CD is Like New and was just released. In general, I avoid anyone popular because everyone and their dog will try to sell that CD sooner or later. Also Avoid Reader’s Digest/ Life Times- type collections. Always use the a smart phone/scanner to determine value.
ALWAYS check out Completed Listings on eBay before listing any music. Why waste the listing fee if you’ll only make 2-4 dollars? I’ve had good luck selling older obscure vinyl LPs on eBay (over $20) or selling like grouped music in a lot. Amazon is better for the onsies – twoies.
Did I mention music instruction books and songbooks! Wow! Those suckers sell great. It helps to know a little about music or have a phone/scanner to check out the value before you commit. That being said,…I’ve picked up some great guitar instructional books over the years in various thrift stores and sold them between $15-65. Avoid the old beginner Mel Baybooks and stick with obscure stuff,..jazz, blues etc.. Note: If the book promises a CD, be sure and check to see if it’s included before buying.
Old LPs have a lot of competition from experienced collectors…so I avoid this niche most of the time. Check out 8 track tapes and 8 track tape players…I hear this is a great niche too!
Got a musical niche you sell in? We’d love to hear about it.
Make Money on eBay and Amazon.com selling Counted Cross Stitch Patterns!
Ok, you’re going to laugh, but my wife and I sell in this niche almost everyday on Amazon.com.
We buy Counted Cross Stitch pattern and pamphlet booklets all the time for 5-25 cents and sell them between $3 and $24 on Amazon.com! Talk about a great mark up.
A couple of great things about this niche.
PROs- They’re cheap to buy- you can pick them up for as little as 10 cents. Never pay over 50 cents per pattern booklet.
They’re very lightweight, so your shipping cost is low. You can ship them as a 1st class parcel up to about 8 ounces. After 8 ounces, it makes sense to switch to Media Mail (slow, but cheaper).Both these mailing classes are a great mailing rate.
They’re easy to store- you can keep hundreds of them in a cardboard box.
You can easily find this niche in Thrift stores. You can also search Craig’s List. Under Garage Sales, type in craft items in the search box.
They list easily on Amazon.com and sell very well. Most counted cross stitch pattern booklets are already in the Amazon inventory.
CONs- Unless you’re using a smart phone and checking out each pamphlet one at a time on Amazon for sale ranking etc,.. you will end up with a few dogs.See the eBay strategies below for what to do with the stuff you can’t move individually.
TIP: try to avoid the really dorky early 80’s stuff.
My research on eBay Completed Listings has shown that selling Cross Stitch patterns on eBay works better when you sell them in lots. That could be a bunch of patterns that you listed on Amazon and haven’t sold in a while. Remember to ship them via Medial Mail or use a Priority Mail Flat Rate box for your best shipping rates.
eBay is also a great place to buy lots of Counted Cross Stitch patterns on the cheap and then resell on Amazon.com for more money. This is a great strategy that works well in several niches. Here it is again: Buy cheap on eBay- either by buying up lots or scooping up poorly listed product- and resell for more money on Amazon.com.
A GREAT TIP: Once you find a niche, always be on the lookout for products related to your niche! Most of the time there’s another profitable niche close by.
Here’s a few profitable spin offs:
- Counted Cross Stitch Pattern Kits (we once sold a Eva Rosenstand cross stitch kit for over $100. Kits include the pattern, floos, needle and instructions).
- Cross Stitch Magazines ( we regularly sell cross stitch magazines- they are another great item to list and sell on Amazon.com)
WHAT TO AVOID – Big hardback Counted Cross Stitch books don’t list very well on Amazon. Avoid them and stick with the pattern books.
We just finished an indepth article about this niche in Janelle Elms new niche guide, Home Run Guide Vol. 2. Check out this information packed volume at http://www.homerunguide.com/