Selling Online During COVID-19: Business Tips from Reselling Experts

The situation around COVID-19 has flipped the business world upside down, and reselling has not been spared. Inventory sources are shutting down, sales are fluctuating, and safely shipping packages is harder than ever.

We recognize this uncertainty can seem overwhelming. That’s why we’re focused on not just providing reliable inventory, but supporting the reselling community with resources tailored to selling online during COVID-19. And who better to help us do that than reselling experts themselves?

Last week, BULQ hosted its first ever live virtual panel featuring three BULQ buyers and successful resellers – Heather Hooks, Chris Schatz, and Kerry Franciscovich. Despite the uncertainty, each panelist sought out positivity while providing valuable advice for selling online during COVID-19.

Watch the full panel, and check out a few highlights from the inspiring words they had to offer.

How are you coping with this situation, both personally and professionally? 

Kerry – “It’s been challenging of course, so I’m just trying to cope like most people – you just get up and move forward with that day. I’ve started leaning into certain items that people really want, and of course, pricing them fairly.”

Chris – “I’m a really social person, so for me, it’s been a total 180 in terms of how I conduct my life. In terms of business, I’ve changed the way I buy from BULQ specifically. I used to buy mostly toy boxes, but now I buy a lot of books and media now since people are home a lot right now. I’m trying to cater my business to what the public really wants and needs.”

Heather – “With Amazon FBA’s restrictions on third-party sellers, I’ve definitely shifted to putting more things on my website (Hooked On Pickin’) and eBay. Some of the liquidators I buy from are also limited hours, so I’m trying to be careful when placing my orders and remember that it’ll take a little longer [for orders to arrive].”

How do you see COVID-19 impacting reselling over the next 12 months?

Chris – “I think, in terms of consumerism, people are going to still need to buy things. People are still going to have birthdays and anniversaries and holidays…and people are going to want to keep those moments that they hold dear, even if [COVID-19] does last longer than we anticipate.”

Heather – “In about a month or so, I think resellers are really going to start feeling the hurt in terms of people not buying [non-essential items]. You’re really going to see people start struggling financially.  We also might see a boom when all the government stimulus checks get distributed, so I’m curious to see how that trend will work.”

Kerry – I’m trying to very critically analyze all my listings and learn from other similar situations in history to think about in one month, two months, three months from now, what we’ll most likely be dealing with. I’ve also been able to catch up on my death pile (items she hasn’t been able to list or sell) so that’s been an unexpected bright side of being home more often.”

How are you communicating changes in business (extra safety precautions, shipping delays) with your customers? 

Kerry – “I’m not getting many questions about sanitation, but I am getting a lot of messages about potential shipping delays. So, I’m trying to be really responsive to those customers, and will plan to update the template at the bottom of my eBay listings to reflect my safety precautions should I get an uptick in those types of questions.”

Chris – “I have a COVID-19 message ready to go should I get more questions that not only shares my sanitation practices but also advises buyers to let all packages sit outside for 24 hours before bringing them inside OR to take the item out right away and immediately wash their hands.”

Heather – “I’ve had a lot of customers ask me if I’m still shipping. So, I’m shipping everything within 24 hours and letting them know that they’ll likely get items faster from me than even Amazon Prime since they’re currently experiencing huge delays.”

Have you changed your returns policy at all?

Kerry – “I’m actually more accepting of returns right now. People are short on money, they’re trusting me, so if it’s not what they want, they can send it right back. To be safe, I do let all returns sit outside for 24 hours before bringing them in.”

Heather – “I’m trying to retain my customers as best I can right now, so I definitely accept returns, while also following safety precautions for myself.”

>Chris – “Usually it’s a 30-day return policy with eBay, but if someone contacted me outside of that just because they were being super cautious, of course, I’m going to help them out. And as with handling any packages, I leave them outside as long as I can.”

What’s your one tip for staying positive? 

Chris – “If you can, go outside, and if you can’t, just look out your window. Remember that we’re living on a beautiful planet, and there’s a lot of good out there that can still make you smile.”

Kerry – “As resellers, we’re in a really unique position to help others. We can still sell and send people things that they need that are sold out elsewhere. So I try to remember how lucky I am that I can help these people and to be part of a community that’s very appreciated at this time.”

Heather – “My biggest thing is just finding something that gives me joy each and every day. I try to make myself available to people in my community, so just stay connected and communicate to stay socially active and positive.”

If you’re interested in learning more about reselling, check out our “Getting Started” Guide for step-by-step instructions on how to begin.

Are there other COVID-19 online selling topics you’d like us to cover? Let us know in the comments below.

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