• Nico De Bruyn

Selling Empty Boxes Online

Updated: Jun 15, 2019

How did you get into the profession that you are in right now? Was it a childhood dream? Was it from a person that you looked up to? Well, mine came from a box.

This was by no means a magical box, and it was merely an old Apple MacBook box. I was doing some decluttering in my apartment and came across my 2015 MacBook Air box, instead of throwing it away I decided I would try and sell it. After researching for maybe 5 minutes, I found a whole community on eBay that was buying empty Apple Boxes. I thought that this was a total joke, why would any logical person want to buy an empty box? I decided, well let's test this out. The day was Friday, and right before work I opened an eBay account, a PayPal account, snapped a few pictures of my empty box and listed it. A few days passed, and I forgot about the little experiment until I got an eBay alert on my phone on Monday night. The listing said, "ITEM SOLD."

I didn't even know what the next steps were, so I rushed on YouTube and searched "what to do when my eBay listing has sold" So I found out I had to go to a post office and send it out. As I was driving to the post office, which I hadn't been to in years, I started to analyze what had just happened. I couldn't believe it. I had sold an empty MacBook air box had sold for - $13.99, the buyer paid the shipping, and I paid eBay- $1.25 in fees. This got me thinking if I can sell an empty box, what else is out there?

(I couldn't find the original listing, but these are two empty boxes that I have sold in the last few months)

This opened my eyes to the world of reselling. I was shocked and through the next few weeks started getting as many boxes to sell as possible I got them from friends, family, and stores that recycle (biggest tip, a lot of stores like whole foods have paper recycle boxes right outside of their stores). The more time I spent on learning better ways to market the boxes, the more I started to sell.

I was getting a marketing degree by selling empty boxes, and here are some of the lessons I learned:

If I reword the listing a certain way, I will gain more traction. (now I know this as SEO)

Some brands, aka Apple, sold much better than others, aka Sony. (Brand matters)

Creative and insightful product explanation made products sell faster (Creative copywriting)

I did do some research on my customers, and they were too resellers. They would take the boxes I supplied and put the corresponding products inside of the boxes. From this, they would gain an additional 20-40% increase in profit. Thus, it was a win for me to get rid of boxes and make some money. While a win for them because they would pair the box and product together for increased profit.

You can't connect the dots moving forward, only backward. I had no idea selling boxes online would lead me to find my passion for marketing, but it did. The world works in exciting ways, now doesn't it?