Sometimes, the most lucrative markets on eBay can provide great profit potential, not by selling the main products in the market, but by focusing on a wide range of accessories and add-ons that go with these products.

Take iPods and the new iPad for example. There are lots of buyers trying to get the best deal on these products, so whilst it’s a hungry market, it is packed with sellers, which means lots of competition.

If you tried to make money selling the iPods and iPads themselves, it might be really hard to make it work, but what if you focused on the many different accessories these new iPod owners will need?

To do this, you will need to find a good wholesale source for the accessories you want to sell, so here are a few tips on how to go about it.

You need to decide whether you are going to try and sell the branded accessories that go with these items, or the unbranded add-ons that people are just as likely to buy.

Branded items like Belkin in-car equipment, or Sennheiser in-ear headphones usually sell for a higher price, which means good profits. But it could mean less sales, as the bargain hunters go for the cheaper options.

Unbranded screen protectors and cases are almost a must-have for the buyer who wants to protect their new purchase, and whilst they are usually quite cheap, if you get them at the right price, you should be able to sell them in volume.

If you are trying to source branded accessories, you want to make sure your supplier is not only legitimate, but that the goods are also genuine. The best way to do this might be to source a local supplier.

If you try to find a supplier in your own country, the margins might not be as attractive, but the risks should be reduced, and it’s easier to go and visit the supplier to check them, and the product, out.

If you want to look for foreign suppliers to try and get a better price, use the bigger, more reputable wholesale directories such as SaleHoo.com.

They will have checked out the suppliers themselves, or had an independent referencing agency do it, so you can feel happier about dealing with them. One of the best ways to find reliable and genuine suppliers that might not be in the directories, is to talk to the manufacturer themselves, and ask them for information on their authorized wholesalers.

If you tell them you are wanting to sell their products, it’s in their interest to put you in touch with a supplier who can help. Sourcing unbranded accessories to sell is a little easier, as there will be many more manufacturers and wholesalers, plus you are not concerned with the products being a genuine brand, just good quality.

Again, you can use the bigger wholesaler directories who will do a lot of the checking for you, but in the unbranded market the price is crucial, so going where everyone else goes, might not get you the best deal.

Consider finding manufacturers and wholesalers yourself, whether locally or out in the Far East. If you are prepared to put a bit more effort in, you could find a reliable supplier who’s prepared to negotiate a good deal. If you are doing it this way, make sure you carry out all the required checks on them before you part with any money.

Check their business registration, contact and company information, and try and get references from other customers in your country. You might even buy some of the items you are thinking of selling from other sellers on eBay, to see where they are getting them from. This might help you track down suitable manufacturers and wholesalers more easily.

Whether you’re selling branded or unbranded accessories, and regardless of how you source your supplier, always make sure you get a sample, or request a trial order, before you make a significant investment.

Most genuine suppliers will be happy to do this, so it will help to put your mind at rest about the wholesaler, as well as let you check out the product. Selling accessories into a competitive market like iPods, can provide a much better opportunity, due to the diversity and volume of products you can sell.

However, there can still be a lot of other sellers offering the same products as you, particularly with unbranded products, so there is still a fair bit of competition.

Here are a couple of tips on how you can stand out from the other sellers.

Consider developing your own brand – If your market has lots of people who are all simply shipping the same product in from China and listing it on eBay, speak to the manufacturer about branding your orders differently.Get a freelance designer to come up with some branding for your business, and supply it to the manufacturer to put on the packaging, manuals, and maybe even the product. You’re products will be unique, which will make them stand out, and may even let you charge a higher price.

Get closer to the original sale – Look for cross-selling opportunities with other sellers in the market. If there is a seller who is well-established, selling iPods and he new iPad, work out an arrangement where he adds some of your items to the bottom of his listings, and you return the favour.

He should get some extra customers from you, when they look to upgrade or move from iPod to iPad, but you will probably get a lot more from him, as his new customers are shown where to go to get their accessories. The iPod and iPad markets are probably one of the hottest and most competitive markets on eBay.

But by focusing on selling a wide range of accessories to these customers, and if you follow these tips for finding a good wholesale supplier, you can build a diverse and profitable business.