Nothing readies one for the life of an entrepreneur like being in the military. These men and women work tirelessly to serve our country and emerge highly-disciplined, achievement-oriented individuals.
It just so happens that those traits play very well in the world of business, too—especially when it comes to being your own boss.
So you won’t be surprised to learn that Marc Ducey enjoyed a long and impressive career as a U.S. Naval Officer before he and a friend embarked on an exciting entrepreneurial venture on eBay.
But how did they know what to sell? After doing a search on eBay for high-end golf clubs at discounted prices, Marc’s business partner noticed a void. And, he knew that Marc had been a hobby seller for years, so they put their heads together and GolfEtail was born.
Impressive story, right? It gets better. Marc recently sat down with us for a Q&A session. We asked him about his inventory strategy and, though this is sometimes a taboo subject with sellers, Marc was nice enough to share some of the secrets to his success in this area.
Marc, you’ve got a good thing going here. Can you tell us a little about how you select your inventory?
Yes, we consider ourselves opportunity buyers. We focus our buys on closeouts and distressed merchandise, which means that many times we can’t really plan for specific inventory. It’s a balancing act between ensuring we’re jumping on the right buying opportunities and aligning those opportunities with our identified product needs.
The golf business is pretty seasonal. How far out do you plan?
We start planning at least three months in advance of our peak season, which is March through August. When January rolls around, we get very aggressive with purchasing inventory. We buy more and deeper inventory during this time, trying to stay ahead of the demand curve, when we know prices will increase.
And, we take bigger inventory risks ahead of our busiest season. We don’t need to be as cautious because we have a lot of other inventory selling well that can balance out that one item that may not sell as well.
We also use the busy season to liquidate slow-moving merchandise. Other than that, we continue buying year-round, but not as aggressively.
How do you determine what will sell well?
It’s never a perfect science, but we do our homework and strive to be industry experts in the field of golf. We tried to branch out into other sporting goods, but it didn’t work out because aren’t as knowledgeable about baseball and soccer, for example, and don’t have as many relationships with suppliers in those industries.
Really excellent inventory advice, Marc. Any final words of wisdom for your eBay selling peers?
Yes, never pass up a good buying opportunity. Even if you already have a lot of one particular product, if a good buying opportunity comes along, don’t pass it up! Also, when there are multiple units available, if possible, try to buy them all. That way you don’t run the risk of a competitor buying up the rest of the units and undercutting your price.
And, if you’re just starting out, consider finding another seller that you can partner with so that you have more purchasing power. Just make sure it’s someone you can trust.
Thanks for so much for sharing your inventory and sourcing secrets, Marc!
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