ebay seller's source of inventory?

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  1. I'm sometimes curious when I see a seller who was multiple items from the same manufacturer - new unused bags, etc.
    Does this person work for the company? Do they have an arrangement to buy bags from the company just like a department store would? (or like a TJ Maxx or discount dept store)
    Is is appropriate to ask the seller how they get their inventory?
  2. Can't answer your question but no, don't think it's appropriate to ask. I'm not sure such a seller would tell you as they might think you want to set up in competition?
  3. thanks
    It does seem uncomfortable to ask

    I recall years ago after I'd purchased a Michael Kors bag for full price at Nordstrom, seeing a ebay seller selling the same bag for less - then another - then another. and it was a current bag.
    Maybe sometimes it's employee discounts?
    Guess as long as they aren't fakes it's none of my business.
  4. #4 Apr 2, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
    To answer your question, depends on many factors, i.e., size of the ebay seller, age of the product, type of merchandise (designer vs. luxury), etc.

    Many manufacturers without their own outlet stores may sell off old inventory in bulk (thousands of units) to "jobbers". Jobbers in turn sell to stores like TJ Maxx. If it's new merchandise, they probably bought it on sale from a department store on online retailer. Many companies offer substantial discounts once or twice a year. I worked for a company that offered watches at 70% off retail at Christmas. I could have easily purchased up to six watches and sold them for a hefty profit on ebay.
  5. that's interesting
    so an ebay seller could have a friend of business contact who's a jobber and get items from them

  6. Most established sellers aren't going to tell you where they get their inventory. Why would they make it easier for you to know where to go and how to find the best deals, something they had to work at for years?
  7. no offense meant
    I don't intend to ask anyone and I don't think the type of seller I'm talking about gets their mdse from places I could go
  8. I cannot say for sure. Most jobbers purchase merchandise in very large quantities, i.e., hundreds and thousands of units. They take the merchandise off the hands of the retail buyer, which frees up the buyers ability to purchase new, fresh inventory. Jobbers, in turn sell the merchandise at a discount price to another brick & mortar or online retailer or they may sell it themselves on ebay. It depends on the amount and type of merchandise, i.e., t-shirts vs designer handbags.

    Also, many manufacturers sell their own products on ebay without using their company names too. Example: Ten years ago, I worked for a technology company that had an ebay store. They sold refurbished equipment, but they never mentioned they were the actual manufacturer of the product.

    I was a buyer for a major department store, in the late 90's. Every couple of years, I would sell off what retailers called "old season" to jobbers. Back then, there was no internet and most of the old season inventory or what I called "my mistakes" was sold to discount outlet stores or pseudo warehouse sales.
  9. interesting
    thanks MadgePadge
  10. I bought from a guy once who worked at the Saks distribution center, so anything that was damaged, he would buy at a huge discount then resell on ebay.
  11. Employee discounts are usually only 20% at best. After Ebay/PP fees they wouldn't be making any real profit. I tend to stay away from sellers who have large amounts of identical current designer items. There was a seller who had tons of D&B Florentine bags. I live near an outlet and they were selling for less than outlet prices. Even though they very well could have been on the up and up I didn't feel secure about purchasing from them. I prefer to buy from small closet cleaning sellers. Others feel safer purchasing from those big TRS. Thankfully there are plenty of both types to choose from.
  12. A seller learns how to buy well if they're in a business of selling, as opposed to the occasional "it's out of my own closet" eBay seller. Buying effectively takes time and experience, and sellers have a right to protect their knowledge base from a merely curious stranger. It seems very poor etiquette to me to ask for that.
  13. I know a lot of sellers around NYC buy in quantity at sample sales (and may or may not disclose that their items are samples). If you're looking for a good place to score your own deals that is one of them!
  14. Maybe naive question from a non-US citizen: dosen' your IRS go after so-called private sellers who sell new merchandise in bulk?
  15. If they're really selling in bulk quantities then they're probably registered businesses who file taxes as such.