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Mastering the Art of Selling Used Products on Amazon in 2024

Geri Mileva
June 12, 2023
May 7, 2024
Discover how to turn clutter into cash with Threecolts’ comprehensive guide to selling used products on the Amazon platform in 2024.

The internet is brimming with informative resources on everything Amazon-related: product research, FBA, sponsored products, market differentiation, affiliate marketing, and identifying the next best-sellers. But there's one topic that gets overshadowed: selling used items on Amazon to start a self-sufficient venture. Yes, you can sell used items on Amazon, but certain conditions must first be met.

There are millions of people browsing Amazon every day. In fact, the online retail platform had 300 million users in 2022. That's a huge market you can tap into if you're looking for ways to earn some additional cash. And while selling used items on Amazon is not as commonplace as selling old products on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace, Amazon is a great platform to turn your clutter into cash.

Selling Used Products on Amazon: What’s Allowed and What’s Not

If you're just starting your Amazon venture, selling used, pre-owned, or slightly used items can be a good starting point for learning the ins and outs of being an Amazon seller. Not to mention, selling used items on Amazon can be a profitable option for both new and established Amazon sellers looking to earn additional income. That being said, not all used or second-hand items are eligible for sale on Amazon.

Amazon’s Overview of Categories presents a comprehensive review of the various product categories available. Below is a breakdown that gives you an overview of the categories where you can sell used items.

Tablet displaying 'Yes' or 'No' indications for product categories that allow the selling of used items on Amazon.

The product categories that allow the sale of used items are:

  • Amazon Devices Accessories
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Books
  • Camera & Photo
  • Cell Phones & Accessories
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Home & Garden
  • Industrial & Scientific
  • Kindle Accessories and Amazon Fire TV Accessories
  • Major Appliances
  • Music and DVD
  • Musical Instruments
  • Office Products
  • Outdoors
  • Personal Computers
  • Pet Supplies
  • Software
  • Sports
  • Video, DVD & Blu-ray
  • Video Games

It's important to note that some sub-categories need approval from Amazon.

The product categories that don’t allow the sale of used items are:

  • Automotive & Powersports
  • Baby Products (excluding apparel)
  • Beauty
  • Collectible Coins
  • Entertainment Collectibles
  • Fine Art
  • Grocery & Gourmet Foods
  • Health & Personal Care
  • Independent Design
  • Sports Collectibles
  • Toys & Games
  • Watches

In broad terms, Amazon offers an array of categories for sellers to post their used items. Amazon sellers are required to accurately categorize their used goods for sale on the platform based on their condition.

Listing Used Items: How to Categorize and List Your Old Products

When you create a new product listing, you need to disclose the condition of the product being sold. Amazon sellers have five main categories to choose from:

  • New
  • Rental
  • Renewed
  • Used
  • Collectible goods

Out of the five categories, only the Used category is subdivided into four types:

  • Used – Like New or Open Box: Excellent condition, possible minimal damage (if there’s any)
  • Used – Very Good: Gently used, possible small scratches or damages
  • Used – Good: Moderately used, functional with wear
  • Used – Acceptable: Fairly worn, functional condition
Screenshot displaying 'Used' subcategories with their corresponding descriptions.

Assigning the right condition to every product listed on Amazon is crucial for ensuring a satisfactory customer experience. When evaluating the condition of a product, especially if it is used, it helps to be meticulous in your assessment.

It's helpful to bump the condition of the product by one level lower than what you initially perceived, especially if you can't decide which condition it falls into. For example, if you feel your used item fits in the Used: Very Good category, list it in the Used: Good category instead. And then provide a detailed description of your used item, even its flaws. You can influence the buyer's expectations this way and eventually increase their overall satisfaction with the purchase.

Decoding the Differences: Selling Used, Renewed, and Refurbished Items on Amazon

The Amazon Renewed program enables sellers to list pre-owned and refurbished items that have been meticulously examined and meet Amazon's performance standards. Renewed items are different from used items in that they undergo stringent testing and inspection to ensure that they function just as well as new items, as verified by a vendor or supplier authorized by Amazon. As per protocol, all products are subjected to a comprehensive cleaning process after going through a full diagnostic test and replacement of any defective parts.

 Screenshot showing the 'Renewed' category on Amazon with its accompanying description.

Renewed items have minimal to no cosmetic damage when inspected from a distance of 12 inches. They are also covered by a 90-day warranty in the event of any malfunctions, while customers who purchase used items are entitled to a 30-day return policy.

Eligibility for the Amazon Renewed program is not guaranteed for all sellers. Experienced sellers are usually the only ones who can meet the strict requirements. Amazon takes measures to ensure that those who are selling refurbished and like-new products are reputable and offer high-quality items. As such, Amazon Renewed products have a higher overall quality and better cosmetic appearance compared to items listed as Used.

Refurbished items are essentially renewed items that passed the inspection of the original manufacturer, where any damage is repaired or replaced. On Amazon, the terms “renewed” and “certified refurbished” are interchangeable.

Navigating the Restrictions: What Not to Sell as Used on Amazon

When selling old products on Amazon, you must be extra cautious. Unfavorable reviews won't take long to appear if a used product is thought to be of lesser quality than it was advertised to be. There is not much quality variance among the four subcategories of the Used category. Thus, you risk being accused of misleading or cheating customers if you advertise an item as being in "Used – Good" condition yet the buyer considers it to be in "Used – Acceptable" condition. As mentioned above, set the quality criteria to be one step below what you're offering as a precautionary measure.

Screenshot displaying a list of prohibited and unacceptable items for listing on Amazon.

Amazon's list of unacceptable and prohibited items is what separates it from other marketplaces like eBay. Amazon maintains a strict policy on the types of used items that can be listed for sale as part of its commitment to upholding its reputation.

Sourcing Used Products: Where to Find Profitable Items to Sell on Amazon

When establishing yourself as a seller of used items, the key goal is to locate pre-owned products that are in demand. 

Look into places and platforms where you can buy used products that are viable and in demand enough to resell. Be diligent with your research. You can use third-party resources like Threecolts, Jungle Scout, and Helium 10 to gain more in-depth knowledge of the market.

Explore your options on other online retail platforms

Check out different eCommerce platforms like eBay for the best prices and to ensure you're getting quality products. The practice of acquiring items from one online retail platform and reselling them on another is known as “online arbitrage.”

People interested in this type of commerce usually look for new or recently launched items to resell rather than used or second-hand goods. New products can provide more precise profitability estimates. However, you can take advantage of price fluctuations in used items across various marketplaces.

Facebook Marketplace is a great platform where you can search for quality used items within your vicinity. Despite facing tough competition from industry giants like eBay and Walmart, Facebook Marketplace is still among the most popular online marketplaces in the US. That means an abundance of possible used items that you can buy. There's also no need for you to create a new account or download a different app to browse the marketplace if you already have a Facebook account.

Visit garage sales and thrift stores

Checking out garage and thrift stores is a great way to stock up on used items you can resell. These two places offer a diverse selection of things at significantly lower prices. If you're patient enough, you can come across some used items like retro gaming consoles and vinyl records that always have a market, partly due to nostalgia.

Although visiting physical stores may not be a simple process like buying second-hand items on eBay, the chance of getting unique and valuable items makes the entire experience worthwhile.

Look into book fairs and library sales

Books will continue to be one of the most sought-after categories on Amazon in 2024. Selling used books is relatively easier than other items for several reasons. A lot of people have these items at home. Book fairs and library sales happen all the time. Additionally, book lovers often seek old copies or first editions of their favorite books.

One of the upsides of buying and selling used books is the low initial investment needed. Start with just a few books and gradually increase the number as you gain experience with the process.

It is recommended to find out the demand for a used book before selling it on Amazon. This will help you assess your probability of making a sale. To determine the popularity of the book, you can either search for it on Amazon and review its Best Seller Rank (BSR) or use our very own ScoutIQ where you can scan any book in the mobile app to instantly see the profit if sold on Amazon.

Screenshot displaying the product details for the book 'Oh, the Places You'll Go!' by Dr. Seuss on Amazon.

For example, the book “Oh, the Places You'll Go!” by Dr. Seuss ranked #2 on BSR in the Books category. Additionally, it has secured the top spots in the Children's Humor and Children's Classics subcategories, showing its potential as a profitable listing on Amazon.

Listing Used Items on Amazon: A Step-by-Step Guide to Selling Your Used Products

Listing used items for sale on Amazon is a straightforward process that can be completed in three easy steps. The process is very similar to listing a new item for sale, with an emphasis on entering the correct product condition.

Step 1: Create an Amazon seller account

When creating a seller account on Amazon, there are two options available: an Individual Account and a Professional Account. The platform offers a free Individual Account option; however, users will pay a $0.99 fee for each item sold. The Professional Account option is available at a fixed monthly rate of $39.99.

Choose the Individual Account if you intend to sell just a few second-hand items. On the other hand, choose the Professional Account if you intend to sell bulk quantities of used items sourced from other online and physical marketplaces. This will help you secure higher profit margins.

Starting with an individual plan is a good way to assess the profitability of selling used goods. You can always transition to a professional account later on.

Step 2: Choose a fulfillment method

There are two fulfillment methods available for Amazon sellers: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). FBA is a method of outsourcing the logistics aspect of selling items on Amazon. The retail platform is responsible for all aspects of the process, including packing and shipping the items, managing returns, and providing customer service. Sellers only need to send their items to the fulfillment center. FBA is a convenient way to sell used goods in bulk.

On the other hand, FBM means that the seller will independently handle the packing and shipping of items, as well as manage returns. FBM is an ideal option for those who intend to sell used items on Amazon in small quantities, as it provides greater profit margins.

Amazon FBA seems to be the most obvious choice. However, Amazon applies a fixed charge that varies by the dimensions and weight of the item. If you want to optimize your sales and are capable of managing shipping on your own, then FBM could prove to be a more advantageous option in the long term.

Step 3: Create the product listing

As per Amazon's guidelines, sellers aren’t allowed to create new listings for items that are already listed on the platform. To create your listing, look for the ASIN of the product under the Product Information section. ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) is a special 10-character alphanumeric code that Amazon assigns to products for identification purposes.

Screenshot highlighting the Additional Information section of a product listing on Amazon, with the ASIN highlighted.

After identifying the ASIN, do the following steps:

  • Go to Seller Central and look for the "Inventory" tab. 
  • Choose "Add a Product."
  • Input the copied ASIN into the search bar to start looking for the desired product.
  • Click the "Sell this product" button. 
  • Continue to the Offer page, where you will be required to enter the listing information.
  • Set the product's condition to "Used" and then specify its variant, keeping in mind the recommendations above to set a lower condition (if applicable) to avoid negative feedback.
  • You can improve the listing by adding a "Condition Note" that describes to potential purchasers what to expect from the product, bringing full disclosure to the selling process.

When it comes to listing used books, the process differs slightly. Instead of the ASIN, look for the ISBN (International Standard Book Number). The ISBN is typically found on the cover or within the book's pages. Keep in mind that publications released earlier than the 1970s do not include an ISBN. Therefore, you must specifically input the book's title to look for it.

On the product listing page, look for the “Sell on Amazon” option. If other vendors are authorized to sell the book, this option will be accessible. Click the button and type all the necessary details like you would for any other used item.

Maximizing Success: Best Practices for Selling Used Products on Amazon

Pick the right product condition with care

It’s reasonable to select a condition that is slightly lower than the actual condition. It's better to under-promise and over-deliver to avoid disappointing customers and getting negative feedback.

Use the Condition Note to your advantage

Leverage the optional "Condition Note" to provide buyers with a clear understanding of the condition of the product they are purchasing, setting their expectations appropriately. The item's marks, flaws, and damages should be described for transparency and accuracy. Buyers tend to gravitate more toward sellers that provide full disclosure on their used items.

Deliver exceptional customer service

Amazon is a customer-centric eCommerce platform, and the company expects all its sellers—private-label companies or resellers—to follow this approach. Respond to inquiries promptly. Be polite when answering. Promptly address any issues that may arise.

Maintain competitive pricing

Amazon sellers of used goods can potentially enjoy a substantial profit margin. It is vital to maintain competitive pricing, particularly for rare finds. The fact that the item you are selling is used doesn't always equate to diminished value.

Pricing products at $.99 has been a highly effective marketing tactic for years. An item that costs $9.99 is often perceived to be cheaper than an item that costs $10. You can also explore other pricing alternatives, like $9.50 or $9.75. You can identify the price plan that brings in the most money using this approach.

Monitor and manage your inventory efficiently

If you use the FBA method, you will pay storage fees for your products. Storing multiple boxes of used items in the Amazon warehouse can result in higher long-term costs. To avoid this, send inventory that has a high potential for selling quickly. Send a few items at a time, and then just renew your stocks when necessary. This is a more cost-effective approach.

Use other platforms to optimize your listing

Your product's listing can be shared on various social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Pinterest to reach a wider audience.

To fully optimize your listing, use third-party marketplace management platforms such as Threecolts, Pacvue, and Brightpearl. Threecolts provides tools such as SmartRepricer and FeedbackWhiz that have the power to elevate your eCommerce business to new heights.

Final Thoughts

Selling used items on Amazon enables you to not only earn extra cash but also gain experience selling on the platform without investing a lot of money upfront. Consider it a stepping stone for a gradual shift toward more lucrative eCommerce business models in the future. But you have to keep in mind that while Amazon allows used items for sale in specific product categories, not all used products are accepted. So exercise caution when choosing things to list as used. 

It is now easier than ever to get started with Amazon thanks to the abundance of helpful resources available. Threecolts is a platform that strives to provide Amazon sellers with the tools and knowledge they need to thrive in their businesses, whether as private-label businesses or first-time sellers of used items. Check out Threecolts to get the help you need to have a thriving Amazon seller career.

Browse through and read our other blog posts that are data-driven insights with our very own proprietary data and learn more on Mother's Day trends and best practices, Easter sales, price elasticity of demand, Amazon FBA fee changes, Amazon product title optimization, winter seasonal products, Amazon end of year sales, Valentine’s Day trends and best Amazon fulfillment centers by location and throughput.

Learn with Threecolts

Small group workshops to help you learn, optimize, and grow.