Buying and selling is one of the oldest most common methods of making money. The idea is simple, buy low and sell high. Whether that’s purchasing new products or used it all works the same and anyone can do it.

Since the internet buying and selling has exploded from what it used to be as it’s so much easier to sell online. While the internet makes it easy to access a potential market to sell your products, it’s also a place of fierce competition. However the idea of buying a product and then selling it on for more money is incredible and feels great!

You can virtually source your products from anywhere but as the title suggests we are going to focus on Alibaba. Alibaba helps exporters in China to potential buyers all around the world. This website will allow a business in UK to find a manufacturer in China and import the various products they create or manufacturer something new for them. It’s said to account of 80% of all online retail sales in China. If you don’t want to use Alibaba or you’d rather sell offline then please continue to read as this guide will work for anywhere you import from and generally any sell to. So, what are the steps for getting you on the way to buying your first products and selling them to make a profit? We’ve listed steps below on what we think are the major ones.

Product Research / Development

The first thing you’ll have to do is hours and hours of research. This is where, if you haven’t already is find what product or area you are going to focus on when trying to buy and sell. It’s best to browse through Alibaba or anywhere online to get inspiration what you want to deal in. This really links well with our last step “where to sell” your product. You need to search through any market place you might be using to sell your product and look at competitors.

Niche or New Product?

Of course you don’t always have to try and find a niche or a new product. You could just try and source a product cheaper than a rival and undercut them however this is usually very difficult. Not only has the competitor probably been doing it for a while and has better connections, if you’re just starting out they will probably have a larger buying power too.


This step isn’t always necessary. You don’t have to brand your products with your own logo or business, you could just leave it blank or continue to leave any manufacturer branding on however it’s always better in our opinion to brand it. Not only will it feel a little more professional but it can potentially help with repeat business. Branding your product usually costs extra so try hard in your negation to get the best deal.


The price is easily the most important step along with product research. If you buy too high you will have to hope at selling your product for a profit. Negotiating hard to get a better price might mean the difference between a successful enterprise compared to a failure. If you struggle to get a lower enough price then always Walk Away. Don’t try and make it work just because you’ve spent a lot of time researching the product, If your too expensive people will shop elsewhere.

Be careful when dealing with certain products, especially electrical. Manufacturers will often have certain grades of products and it will be cheaper the lower grade you go. For example USB memory sticks will have grades from A to maybe C. An A grade is usually quite reliable where a C grade is very likely to corrupt and fail. Buy low but don’t let your product quality suffer.

Shipping & Import Tax

Shipping your product can be costly depending on what it is, obviously like the bigger/heavier it is the more it will cost to ship. You can usually pick the courier of your choice. Airfreight is quite a bit more expensive than having it shipped on a container shipment but usually unless you’re buying a lot you will only have the choice of Airfreight.

You might have to pay import Tax on your product when it enters the country. Check out our small Import Duty & Tax Guide to find out more.

Where to sell

Selling online is what we are focusing on here but you can sell your product anywhere you think it could sell.

The main places online for you to sell would be:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • ecommerce website

You could even sell wholesale you retailers in UK depending of course of the product you are selling. It would be less of a mark-up but generally you would sell a lot more.