Retail Items That Continue to Sell Well Online

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This guide provides a list of popular and high-selling retail items that consistently sell well online. Most of these products continue to sell well year after year, even as newer, flashier products garner more interest from the public.

Online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon because their catalogs are so wide-ranging (or “diverse” as the article calls it), provide retailers with an excellent opportunity to maximize their product sales by keeping their store shelves stocked only with the most popular items.

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Used Books

Books are among the most popular retail items on eBay. The bulk of used books sold online originate from independent sellers using eBay’s simple “Book” template to list their products for sale, but Barnes & Noble is another major retailer that has experienced great success selling books on the world’s largest online marketplace.

The Used Book Market is worth nearly $5 billion as of 2012. These used books are purchased by buyers seeking to save money; often, those buying through online marketplaces hold price as the main factor in their buying decision.

Cell Phones and Smartphones

eBay has experienced a great deal of success with cell phones and smartphones and continues to attract major players like Verizon and AT&T as well as independent retailers. Many of these cell phone and smartphone retailers, especially those who sell high-end devices like the Apple iPhone and Galaxy S4, often list their products exclusively on eBay, where they can reach a wide audience of buyers seeking to save money by purchasing used instead of new items.

Power Tools

As of late 2012, power tool sales on eBay have climbed to an all-time high. This is largely attributed to the ongoing housing market recovery and stabilization of home prices across the country.

As with most retail items that sell well online, it is important for sellers to compete aggressively on price when listing their products for sale on sites like eBay and Amazon. This is especially true for merchant sellers who sell used or refurbished, high-quality products. There are even companies that specialize in helping individuals find the best deals on new items to list their products for sale online.


Today’s bicycles have evolved from a simple utilitarian tool to a highly crafted and stylized retail item. In the United States, the white-collar urban professional has rediscovered cycling as a way to get fit and save money on transportation.

At this point in time, selling bicycles is among the most profitable retail items one can list for sale on eBay. Online marketplaces provide bicycle retailers with several opportunities to maximize sales: they allow retailers to set up their own online stores, which can be promoted through eBay’s internal marketing tools; they allow retailers to join the global economy by connecting with buyers in other parts of the world, and they provide retailers with access to an extremely wide audience of buyers.

Novelty Items

Online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon are filled with novelty items that range from outright junk to high-quality, handmade goods. Mainstream retailers like Walmart and Target may carry certain novelty items in their brick-and-mortar stores, but they lack the diverse product catalogs of online marketplaces; therefore, when it comes to selling novelty items, expect to make the most money by selling on sites like eBay and Amazon.

Here you’ll have cute mugs, scrapbooks, posters,¬†personalized items such as engraved knives, lamps, and other items.

Clothing and Accessories

Today, women’s fashion accessories like scarves and handbags are among the most popular retail items that sell well online. This is largely attributed to their portability; when purchased through an online marketplace, these fashionable items can be shipped directly to the customer’s door in a small box.

Many people prefer buying clothing and accessories through online marketplaces because the entire process is streamlined. No longer does a potential customer need to find an item in a brick-and-mortar store, try it on for size, and then check out; today’s online shoppers can simply sit at their computers or smartphones and shop from home or work.


Like women’s fashion accessories, jewelry is a highly in-demand retail item¬†that sells extremely well online. This includes both expensive pieces of fine jewelry and inexpensive costume jewelry.

You can sell anything from earrings to necklaces, rings to bracelets, but remember that you get more money selling designer or high-end items than cheap ones.


Toys are some of the most popular types of retail items sold online today. Even as digital media has taken over more traditional forms of entertainment, children continue to enjoy playing with their favorite toys. Also, toy manufacturers are bringing back classic toys that have remained popular among today’s parents.

Retailers specializing in toys are finding great success selling their items through online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. By using these sites, retailers can reach an extremely wide audience of buyers seeking to purchase name-brand toys at the lowest prices possible. One example is Lego, which has experienced exploding sales on eBay in recent years.

Sports Memorabilia

Selling sports-related memorabilia is among the most profitable retail items one can sell on eBay or Amazon. Sites like these provide sellers with an extremely wide audience of buyers searching for popular collectibles, and they also allow sellers to take advantage of rising prices associated with limited edition items, which are typically only available through third-party sellers like those found on eBay or Amazon.

Selling sports memorabilia has become especially popular in recent years, as items related to top athletes are highly sought after by buyers worldwide.

Retailing is not dead. There are still millions of people around the world who prefer to shop in person while buying both novelties and mainstream items at brick-and-mortar stores. However, whether they’re shopping for clothing or toys, many consumers today are also turning to online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.

Remember that selling novelty items online requires that you be different. Avoid selling the same old thing others are currently pushing; instead, develop a novelty item or two that isn’t yet available on eBay or Amazon and market it aggressively to buyers through these sites.

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