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By Matt Sulava (@mattsulava on Twitter and Instagram)
It?s been about two weeks since I?ve written anything and I really haven?t kept up with things the way I would?ve liked to. In the past two weeks, I?ve been at school and had a decent amount of homework that I need to take care of coming back from spring break. I?ve also been having a little bit of trouble deciding what I want to write about. I tend to write about the things that are on my mind, or that I am very intrigued by at the moment. Right now, one of the things that is the most intriguing for me is buying and selling things from Ross or Marshall?s and putting them on eBay, Poshmark, or Mercari to flip and make a profit on. I think there?s a great deal of opportunity doing retail arbitrage in this way, and I?m going lay out a basic strategy to deploy when trying to flip shoes from these stores.
Ross Dress For Less sells Nike overstocked merchandise for cheap!
For those of you that don?t know, Ross Dress For Less and Marshall?s are two stores that will go to Nike, Adidas, Puma, and various other name brands and take the overstock that they have to resell to consumers at a discounted price. In doing so, it allows consumers to be able to buy merchandise at a cheaper cost, while Nike isn?t sitting on inventory for too long. Many times when this happens, for whatever reason, rare or very expensive clothing and shoes can get thrown into the mix and put out on the shelves and racks at Ross had a very, very cheap price. Checking for these items with the aspiration to resell them on eBay is often times very profitable, as long as you are willing to put in 20?30 minutes worth of time when you stop.
I?ll never forget when I walked into Ross one time and saw a pair of size 18 LeBron 11’s sitting on the shelf. One shoe was bright blue covered with a lot of cooler colors while the other shoe was orange and red, covered with warmer colors. This shoe is known as the ?What the LeBron? colorway. This LeBron model sold out from Nike fairly quick and was a very hard shoe to come by at a decent price. I knew this but seeing with the shoe size was 18, I passed on the shoes because I was young and didn?t really understand people could have a use for a size 18 shoe. I came to find out two weeks later, that my cousin had stopped at the same Ross the day after I did and bought the shoes for the $50 price tag Ross had on them. He listed them on eBay and sold them for a whopping $680 plus shipping! Seeing this made me a little bit sick because I could?ve done the same thing. It taught me a valuable lesson: I should never pass up on something without first checking to see what it could sell for.
So what does this all have to do with you going into Ross or Marshall?s and walking out of there with a potential $50-$100 profit? I want to outline how you can go into Ross, Marshall?s, or TJ Maxx and find clothing and shoes that might be worth money, to then flip on eBay and make yourself a profit.
A fraction of the shoe section from my local Ross.
The first thing that I always do when I walk in is analyze the shoe section. I give it a very quick look over and go up and down all the shoes very quickly to make sure there aren?t any that look extremely rare or ones that I recognize right off the bat.
I used to really be into researching shoes, so I have a pretty good idea of how shoes will sell. By just regularly checking eBay, Twitter, or sneakerhead sites like Kicks Deals or Sneaker News is one of the best ways you can easily figure out which sneakers are selling for what. I?ve usually started with shoes that would be in this size 12 and below, just because that?s my preference. Honestly, you might want to start in size 7 and work your way up because there aren?t many people are going to Ross looking for a size 6.5?8 shoe, so a lot of the rare shoes can be found there as opposed to size 10 through 12, a much more common shoe size for an adult male. I then look for shoes that are either labeled Nike, Jordan, or seem like they could be a very unique color scheme (known as a colorway). For this example, we will look at a pair of New Balance shoes I purchased the other week.
New Balance shoes i bought last week.
I then pick up the shoe, flip the tongue to find the size label, and look for either the model number or the art model number that specific shoe. Each shoe has its own model number that defines the shoe model as well as the color scheme that is used for the shoe.
What a typical tongue tag looks like on a shoe.
Each company has its own sort of system of making these numbers; once you do a few shoes of each different company you get a very good idea for what these numbers look like. I then open my eBay app or go on eBay.com and search the shoe using the brand and that art model number. Take for instance this new balance shoe that I found at Ross two weeks ago for $29.99. It looks like an average shoe, but some retro shoes can sell well at times, so it?s a good idea to check them when you see them.
I then open my eBay app, type in New Balance M1700WN, and hit the search button. The listings pop up and sometimes, it may be a vast amount of listings, depending on the type of shoe you?re searching for. For this pair of new balance shoes, it looks like there might not be many results.
Shoe search for my shoe on eBay.
I then go over to the settings and I make sure to turn on ?sold listings? option to see what the shoes of this actual model and colorway have sold for. Sometimes there might not be any pairs sold, so then I turn off the ?sold listings? options and leave the ?completed listings? option on to see if there?s any shoes that have been on eBay that haven?t sold but have been listed for a while. If there are no completed listings and no sold listings, I check what current listings of my shoe are selling for and if I can beat the lowest price and still make a decent profit, I buy them. It?s a very simple way to go about flipping and worse comes to worst, if 30 days come if you don?t sell the shoes, just take them back and return them! Now you?re flipping without the chance of losing money!
Sold tab on the eBay settings menu.
I used to go in and look up shoes but had a lot of trouble with finding what types of shoes I was actually holding in my hand. I didn?t know there was a model number or an art number, some way of identifying the specific shoe that I had in my hand. Utilizing this method, I?ve been able to find something almost every time I?ve gone to Ross so far, and the resell value on each pair of shoes or spikes I?ve picked up has been at least $30. I just started this method of flipping again, two weeks ago, so I haven?t sold any yet. Once I do, I will definitely let you know and try and provide you with updated information so you know which shoes you should and should not buy.
As a little aside here, one thing that people don?t look for as often is spikes or cleats. People hear about stories of someone finding a pair of shoes that Nike collaborated with Supreme on and immediately look for those, only to be disappointed when they don?t find them. That kind of stuff almost never happens. The most likely route to making money seems like spikes and clears. It seems that Ross typically prices cleats and spikes much lower than any other store would because it?s harder to sell those out of season. These seem to have some of the highest resale value on any given day unless you find a rare pair of basketball shoes because they?re priced so low at $19.99 or $24.99, while sometimes having a resell value of over $100. I encourage you to make sure you check all pairs of spikes and cleats, especially ones that look a little bit different because those can make you a good amount of money and are usually priced the cheapest. This method also works for clothing, so always make sure to check for things like weird looking Nike t-shirts or stitched NFL jerseys.
That?s really how I go about looking for Ross and Marshall?s for shoes. I really hope that you have a good understanding what you would be looking for if you?re going to try and find a shoe to sell from one of these retail stores on eBay or Mercari or another app of your choosing.
I definitely think that you have a good shot of finding a pair of shoes on any given day, especially when you walk into a Ross Dress for Less. Their huge wall of shoes is something that I always make sure I look for to flip on eBay. If you have any questions, make sure to comment or message me. I?d love to help or assist you in any way that I can! As always, thank you so much for reading!