How To Start a Reselling Business Online + 8 Examples

Anant Gupta
24 Min Read
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Starting an online reselling business is a great way to make extra income, but it’s not always clear where to begin. This industry of buying and selling products for profit has seen a significant rise in popularity due to the ease of setting up shop on various e-commerce platforms.

Our detailed guide will show you how to launch your own successful online reselling venture, providing step-by-step instructions and eight unique business idea examples. Let’s get started on your path toward becoming a successful online reseller!

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the role of a reseller, which involves purchasing products from suppliers and selling them to customers for profit.
  • Explore various types of reselling businesses, such as dropshipping, sneaker businesses, vintage boutiques, consignment shops, subscription boxes, clothing businesses, pet supplies stores, and cosmetics businesses.
  • Learn the step-by-step process for starting a reselling business online, including researching the market, selecting a fulfillment model, finding suppliers,
  • Take advantage of reselling business opportunities by staying updated with current market trends and leveraging social media platforms to reach potential customers.

What is a Reseller?

A reseller is someone who purchases products from a supplier and sells them to customers, usually in an online marketplace or through their e-commerce website. They play a crucial role in the distribution chain by connecting suppliers with buyers and earning profit through sales.

Definition and role of a reseller

A reseller serves as the vital bridge between manufacturers or wholesalers and customers in the retail arena. This role is all about purchasing a wide range of products in bulk from suppliers and then selling them onward to buyers at profitable prices.

It’s more than just buying and selling goods – savvy deal hunting, effective inventory management, and insightful market analysis form part of their daily operations. The success of a reseller largely depends on understanding consumer needs precisely and providing the desired products accordingly.

Types of reselling businesses

There are a variety of types of reselling businesses that you can start online. Here are 8 examples:

  1. Dropshipping business: This type of reselling business involves partnering with suppliers who handle the fulfillment and shipping of products to customers.
  2. Sneaker business: Resellers in this niche specialize in buying and selling limited-edition sneakers, often at higher prices due to their exclusivity.
  3. Vintage boutique: A reselling business focused on vintage clothing, accessories, and collectibles can tap into the growing market for retro and nostalgic items.
  4. Consignment: Resellers who operate on a consignment model work with individuals or businesses to sell their items on their behalf, taking a percentage of the sale as commission.
  5. Subscription box: This type of reselling business involves curating and selling monthly subscription boxes filled with niche products or samples.
  6. Clothing business: Reselling trendy or designer clothing items online is another popular option, either through your e-commerce site or platforms like Poshmark or Depop.
  7. Pet supplies store: A reseller specializing in pet products can cater to the growing demand for high-quality and unique pet supplies.
  8. Cosmetics business: Selling popular beauty brands or creating your line of cosmetics can be a profitable venture in the online resale market.

Steps to Start a Reselling Business Online

To start a reselling business online, you need to research the market, select a fulfillment model, find suppliers, create a business plan, take care of legal and financial matters, build a website, set up a payment system, and finally start selling.

Researching the market

Researching the market is a crucial step when starting an online reselling business. It involves understanding your target audience and identifying what products they are looking for.

By conducting market research, you can gather valuable information about current trends, competition, and customer preferences. This will help you make informed decisions about the types of products to sell and how to position your business effectively.

Additionally, researching the market allows you to identify any gaps or untapped opportunities that you can capitalize on. By staying up-to-date with the latest market trends and consumer demands, you can ensure that your reselling business is well-positioned for success.

Selecting a fulfillment model

Selecting a fulfillment model is a crucial step when setting up your online reselling business. This model determines how you will handle the storage, packaging, and shipping of your products to customers.

There are different options to consider, such as dropshipping or warehousing. With dropshipping, you don’t have to hold any inventory yourself – instead, the supplier ships the products directly to your customers.

This can save you time and money on storage costs. On the other hand, if you choose warehousing, you will need to store inventory in a physical location and handle the fulfillment process yourself.

Finding suppliers

Finding reliable suppliers is a critical step in setting up a successful reselling business. Suppliers provide the products that you will sell to your customers, so it’s important to find ones that offer high-quality items at competitive prices.

Start by researching potential suppliers online, and looking for reviews and ratings from other resellers. You can also attend trade shows or reach out to manufacturers directly to establish relationships with them.

It’s essential to communicate clearly with your suppliers, ensuring they understand your needs and expectations. Building strong relationships with trustworthy suppliers will help ensure that you have a consistent supply of products for your reselling business.

One effective way to find suppliers is through online marketplaces specifically designed for resellers. These platforms connect resellers with reputable wholesalers and manufacturers who are willing to work with small businesses.

By using these marketplaces, you can access a wide range of products and compare prices from different sellers all in one place. As you grow your business, consider diversifying your supplier base by working with multiple sources to minimize risks such as inventory shortages or quality issues.

Creating a business plan

Creating a business plan is an essential step when starting a reselling business online. It allows you to outline your goals, strategies, and financial projections for the business.

By having a comprehensive plan, you can stay organized and focused on achieving success. Your business plan should include details about your target market, competition analysis, pricing strategy, marketing tactics, and projected revenue.

Additionally, it should also cover operational aspects such as supply chain management and customer service policies. A well-crafted business plan not only helps you understand your vision but also serves as a roadmap to attract investors or secure financing if needed.

To ensure the smooth operation of your reselling business, it is crucial to take care of legal and financial matters. This includes registering your business with the appropriate authorities, such as the IRS, and obtaining any necessary licenses or permits.

Opening a separate business bank account will help you keep track of your finances and make tax filing easier. Having a solid reselling business plan in place will guide your decision-making and financial projections.

It’s important to stay on top of these legal and financial obligations to protect yourself and your business in the long run.

Building a website

To start your reselling business online, building a website is essential. Your website will serve as the online storefront for your customers to browse and purchase your products. It should be user-friendly, visually appealing, and provide detailed information about the products you are selling.

To build an effective website, consider using e-commerce platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce that offer customizable templates and easy integration with payment systems. Ensure that your website is mobile-responsive since many customers shop on their smartphones.

Additionally, optimize your website for search engines by incorporating relevant keywords in your product descriptions and titles to attract organic traffic. Remember to regularly update your website with new products and promotions to keep customers coming back for more.

Setting up a payment system

Setting up a payment system is a crucial step in starting an online reselling business. It allows you to receive payments from your customers securely and efficiently. There are several options available for setting up a payment system, including using popular platforms like PayPal or Stripe, integrating with an e-commerce platform, or even setting up your payment gateway.

When choosing a payment system, consider factors such as transaction fees, ease of use, and customer preferences. It’s also important to ensure that the payment system is compatible with your website and provides robust security measures to protect sensitive customer information.

By setting up a reliable and user-friendly payment system, you can provide a seamless buying experience for your customers while ensuring smooth financial transactions for your reselling business.

Starting to sell

To start selling in your online reselling business, you need to set up youre-commercee site and implement a payment system. A user-friendly website will help attract customers and make it easy for them to browse and purchase products.

Make sure to showcase your product line with clear descriptions, high-quality images, and competitive pricing. Setting up a secure payment system will give customers confidence in making transactions on your site.

Keep in mind that professional customer service is key – provide accurate information about the products, ship items promptly, and address any customer concerns promptly.

Reselling Business Ideas and Opportunities

Some of the reselling business ideas and opportunities include dropshipping, sneaker businesses, vintage boutiques, consignment shops, subscription boxes, clothing businesses, pet supplies stores, and cosmetics businesses.

Dropshipping business

A dropshipping business is a popular reselling model where the seller does not need to hold inventory or handle shipping. Instead, they work with suppliers who fulfill orders directly to customers.

This eliminates the need for upfront investment in inventory and allows sellers to focus on marketing and customer service. By finding reliable suppliers and creating an online store, agency owners and resellers can easily start a profitable dropshipping business.

They can leverage social media platforms for effective marketing and ensure prompt shipping and accurate product information to provide a professional experience for customers. With proper research, planning, and execution, a dropshipping business can be a successful venture in the world of online reselling.

Sneaker business

Starting a sneaker reselling business online can be a lucrative opportunity for agency owners and resellers. With the growing popularity of limited-edition sneakers, there is a thriving market for people looking to buy and sell these coveted items.

To get started in the sneaker business, it is important to research the market and understand what types of sneakers are in high demand. Building relationships with reliable suppliers who can provide you with authentic sneakers is also crucial.

Creating an attractive website or using popular sneaker resale platforms can help you reach potential customers. By staying informed about upcoming releases and offering competitive prices, you can position yourself as a trusted seller in the sneaker resale market.

The sneaker business offers potential profits due to its high demand and passionate customer base. However, it’s essential to stay up-to-date on trends, maintain strong supplier relationships, and provide excellent customer service to succeed in this competitive industry.

Emphasizing authenticity and accurate product descriptions will build trust with your customers while ensuring timely delivery will keep them satisfied. Stay focused on finding unique opportunities within the sneaker world that align with your niche expertise, as this will allow you to offer sought-after sneakers that stand out from competitors.

Vintage boutique

Starting a vintage boutique can be a unique and rewarding reselling business opportunity. With the rise in popularity of retro fashion, there is a growing demand for one-of-a-kind vintage clothing and accessories.

By sourcing pre-loved items from thrift stores, estate sales, and online platforms, you can curate a collection that appeals to customers looking for nostalgia and individual style.

Showcasing your inventory through an engaging website or social media platform will attract potential buyers who appreciate the charm of vintage pieces. Providing accurate product descriptions, prompt shipping, and excellent customer service are key to success in this niche market.


Consignment is another popular type of reselling business that you can start online. In a consignment business, you act as an intermediary between sellers and buyers. Sellers bring their products to you, and you sell them on their behalf.

Once the item is sold, you take a percentage of the sale as your commission. This model allows sellers to reach a wider audience while eliminating the hassle of selling their items themselves.

As a consignment reseller, it’s important to establish trust with both the sellers and buyers by accurately representing the products and providing excellent customer service.

Subscription box

A subscription box business is a popular reselling opportunity online. With this model, customers sign up for a monthly or quarterly subscription and receive a curated package of products delivered straight to their door.

As an agency owner or reseller, you can tap into the growing trend of subscription boxes by selecting a niche that aligns with your target audience. Conduct market research to identify popular and profitable niches, such as beauty, fitness, food, or pet supplies.

Find suppliers who offer quality products that fit within your chosen niche. Develop an attractive website and compelling marketing strategy to attract subscribers and build customer loyalty.

By offering unique and valuable products through a subscription box service, you can create an ongoing revenue stream for your reselling business.

Clothing business

The clothing business is a popular choice for resellers, as there is always demand for fashionable clothes. To start a clothing resale business online, begin by researching the market to identify trends and find out what styles are in high demand.

Once you have determined your target audience, source reliable suppliers who offer quality garments at competitive prices. Consider creating a niche within the clothing industry, such as selling vintage or sustainable fashion, to stand out from competitors.

Develop an attractivee-commercee website where customers can easily browse and purchase your products. Promote your clothing business through effective online advertising and leverage social media platforms to reach potential customers.

Providing excellent customer service and ensuring timely shipping of orders will help build trust with your buyers.

Pet supplies store

Operating a pet supplies store as an online reselling business can be a profitable venture. With the increasing number of pet owners, there is a growing demand for high-quality pet products.

To start your pet supplies store, you will need to research the market and identify popular and in-demand products that cater to different pets. Finding reliable suppliers who offer a wide range of pet supplies is key to ensuring you have a diverse product line to meet customer needs.

Creating a business plan helps outline your goals and strategies for success, while also considering financial projections. By providing accurate product information and offering prompt shipping, you can build trust with customers and establish yourself as a reputable source for all their pet supply needs.

Cosmetics business

A cosmetics business is a popular choice for resellers looking to enter the beauty industry. With a wide range of products available, from makeup and skincare to haircare and fragrances, there are plenty of opportunities to cater to different customer preferences.

Resellers can source their products from reliable suppliers or even directly from manufacturers. It’s crucial to stay informed about current trends in the beauty market and offer high-quality products that meet customers’ needs.

By providing accurate product information, exceptional customer service, and leveraging online platforms for marketing, resellers can build a successful cosmetics business.

Pros and Cons of Starting a Reselling Business

Starting a reselling business offers several advantages, including the potential for high profits and flexibility in choosing products to sell, but it also comes with challenges such as competition and the need for effective inventory management.

Advantages of being a reseller

Becoming a reseller offers several advantages for entrepreneurs looking to start an online business. Firstly, by being a reseller, you can quickly enter the market without the need for a unique product idea.

Instead of spending time and resources developing your products, you can leverage existing suppliers and their inventory. This allows you to focus on selling and growing your customer base.

Secondly, as a reseller, you have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of products to sell. You are not limited to just one niche or product category. This versatility allows you to cater to different customer preferences and target multiple markets simultaneously.

Another advantage is that starting an online reselling business requires relatively low upfront costs compared to other business models. You don’t need to invest in manufacturing equipment or large amounts of inventory since most suppliers handle warehousing and shipping for you through dropshipping services.

Furthermore, being a reseller allows you to earn passive income. Once you have set up your online store and established supplier relationships, sales can occur around the clock without much additional effort on your part.

Lastly, as a reseller in today’s digital age, there is immense potential for growth due to the increasing popularity of e-commerce platforms and online marketplaces. With proper marketing strategies such as leveraging social media platforms, search engine optimization (SEO), and targeted advertising campaigns, it’s possible to reach a larger audience beyond traditional geographical boundaries.

In conclusion,

Potential challenges and risks

Starting a reselling business online comes with its fair share of challenges and risks. One potential challenge is fierce competition in the marketplace, asmany other resellers are sellingg similar products.

This means that you will need to find a way to stand out from the crowd and attract customers to your business. Another challenge is finding reliable suppliers who can consistently provide high-quality products at competitive prices.

Without reliable suppliers, it can be difficult to maintain a steady inventory and fulfill customer orders on time. Additionally, there is always the risk of product returns or unsatisfied customers, which can impact your profit margin and reputation.


Starting a reselling business online can be a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to enter the e-commerce market. By following the steps outlined, conducting thorough market research, selecting the right fulfillment model, finding reliable suppliers, creating a solid business plan, and taking care of legal matters, you can set yourself up for success.

With these foundations laid, explore profitable reselling ideas like dropshipping or venturing into niche markets such as vintage clothing or pet supplies. Remember to focus on customer service and leverage social media platforms to grow your online presence and attract customers.

Get started today and watch your reselling business thrive!


1. How do I start a reselling business online?

Starting an online resale business requires niche selection, IRS registration, obtaining business licenses and permits, and setting up a reseller marketplace.

2. Can I sell handmade crafts in my reselling business?

Yes! You can profit from selling online items such as handmade crafts in your e-commercee reseller shop.

3. What are some profitable ideas for a wholesale reselling company?

Profitable examples of wholesale reselling include thrift store products and retail arbitrage businesses.

4. Do I need special licenses for an online resale business?

Yes, you must secure all necessary local or state-specific business licenses for operating a successful resale or eCommerce operation legally.

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