Tips For Selling Your Used Items Online
Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner and now is as good of time as any to get ahead of your spring cleaning by purging some of the unwanted clutter from your home. But what should you do with the gently used clothing, furniture, home items or electronics that you aren’t using anymore? Consider selling them online.
Fortunately, the ‘social’ marketplace makes it quite easy to sell your items without even leaving your home. Websites such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay and Poshmark, make it easy to sell without even leaving your home.
There are, however, a few perils to selling used items online so be sure to follow these tips for best results:
Choose an appropriate platform
There are dozens of online marketplaces to choose from, but many of them focus on a specific kind of used goods, such as electronics or designer clothing. Before you create an account with a marketplace, browse through the types of products currently for sale and make sure it is a good fit for the kind of goods you want to sell. For example, eBay is a good site to sell vintage and collectible items as it offers a very wide range of vintage and collectible categories, including most specialized niche markets.
Price your item appropriately by knowing its worth
If you are selling an item that was never used and is still in its original packaging, remember that technically it is still coming to the buyer second hand, so you’ll need to charge a little less than the original retail value if you want to make a sale. To determine the value of an item you want to sell, search for similar items on the site where you plan to list. On auction sites, look at completed sales and pay attention to the selling price rather than the minimum bid price.
Get appraisals for high-value items
If you are in possession of antiques or artwork that is worth over a thousand dollars, consider getting a written opinion on the item’s worth from a professional appraiser. This will give you a better idea of the price you should set and how much insurance you need to cover the sale. If you are selling jewelry made with precious metals or stones, get an official appraisal before you list or sell the items. Keep in mind that jewelers may give you a lower price quote as they intend to make a profit on a resale.
Preparing a quality listing is key
Just like when selling a home, good quality photos are key to selling your item for the best price possible. Make sure the images are clear and accurately show the item’s colour, form and other key details. You’ll also want to include specific measurements and detailed written descriptions that inform buyers of any flaws the item may have, no matter how small. It’s important to mention any flaws as it makes it clear that the price you set takes the flaws into account. Finally, use search engine words in your item description that accurately describe the item, its aesthetic (e.g. colour, material) and its use to attract buyers who are actively looking for what you are selling.
Take care when prepping and shipping items
Clean your items thoroughly before shipping. Wrapping the item in tissue paper and including a thank-you note can go a long way towards creating a returning customer if you are planning on selling multiple items online.
Understand the fees
Each online marketplace has its own set of fees, which can vary quite a bit from platform to platform. Before you sign up, take some time to read the fine print and understand whether you’ll pay a percentage of your sale, a flat rate, or both and how the fees are collected. In addition, find out how many sales each platform allows you to make each month.
Protect your personal information at all times
As you sell items online, be cautious of buyers who offer to overpay for an item and keep your sensitive personal information under lock and key. Avoid communicating with buyers outside of the online platform you are using to make the sale and don’t give out your home address, phone number or email address.
Consider swapping or donating used items
If you decide not to sell an item, consider donating it or giving it away to someone who needs it. Several online sites allow you to give things away to someone who needs them for free; lend and borrow items from others in your community; and even trade items instead of selling them for cash. For example, websites like Nextdoor.com and Varagesale.com are neighbourhood-specific where you can buy, sell and sometimes swap items.
Be extra cautious when making local sales
Some platforms allow you to meet up with people in your local area to exchange your item for cash in person. While this can be an effective way to sell big items and avoid marketplace fees, use caution when meeting up with strangers. Don’t be quick to give them your home address, instead ask buyers to meet you in a safe place, such as outside your local police department. Never meet up with a buyer you don’t know alone. Always bring a friend to make the transaction.
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