Selling your junk (that is soon to be someone’s treasure) online is a great method to get rid of stuff we don’t need, no longer use and forgot we even had. It also can be challenging because there are so many ways to sell gently used or NWOT items online.
Here are 3 tips to help you navigate the online selling world.
Let’s start with some basics that cover any platform you can use for selling.
- Pictures: Seeing is believing. You can list and describe perfectly the item you’re selling, but I guarantee the only messages or comments you will receive are going to be, “can you send me a picture?” People LOVE pictures. Pictures let buyers see the condition of an item; gives an image of your written ad; and (most importantly) let’s buyers see what your item would be like in their home.
- Descriptions: On the other hand, do not just post a picture and a price! Any messages you will receive will be some variation of “What is it?” It really isn’t hard to type up a little blurb about what it is you’re trying to make some money off of. You’ll want to be sure to include, at the least: what the item is and the item’s condition: gently used, new with tags, needs work, etc. And be accurate! If something has scratches on it, then say so! Otherwise you’rewasting people’s time having them come out to look at a piece of furniture they think they’re going to buy…until they see where your kid attacked it with a plastic sword.
- Prices: Sometimes the price is oh so very wrong. We typically attach sentimental value to an item or forget what setting we are selling the item in and ask waaay too much. I have seen posts in my local FB yardsale page where a person is asking $20 for a like new item and someone else responded with an ad showing the same item BRAND NEW for the same price. I’ll take the new item, please! If you’re trying to sell a rocking chair that has been passed down through the family, you have to price it for what it is. A really old rocking chair. Not sure what to price an item? Snoop around online and see what comparable items are selling for.
Let’s stop here and take a moment to focus on pictures. Why? Pictures can really make a difference in the quickness with which your item will sell.
Seeing is Selling. Post Images that Sell Your Stuff
- Take a picture of the actual item you’re selling. Don’t use a stock photo and say you have something similar. Multiple angles are a plus.
- Watch your flash…or you may need to turn on some lights. Whatever the case may be, make sure people can actually see the item.
- CLEAN! At least the area where the picture is being taken. Mounds of trash or food left out on the counter right next to an item you’re hoping to turn into some green…no thank you.
Now that we have the seller basics out of the way, it’s time to focus on using different virtual garage sales to your selling advantage!
- Update your listing. Amazon is not an environment where you can list a book and forget about it until it sells. Snoop around and see what other similar or same items have popped up and what price they are listed at so you know if you need to be more descriptive or adjust your pricing.
- Can you find me now? If you want someone to find your product when searching similar items, you need to make sure it’s categorized correctly. Again look at the different items available in the various categories so you have an idea of how to label your item so it will actually be found!
- Manage your online image. Reviews are huge! Potential customers will often read reviews before they purchase from you. Remember that table you said was like new and then someone came to look at it and saw the sword battle your child had? Not a good review. Be honest and deliver items in a timely manner. If someone does have an issue with something you sold them, handle it appropriately. Hoping they’ll just forget about it or ignoring the problem will not help!
Facebook Local Yard Sale Pages
- Specify your general location. I know “general location” sounds like an oxymoron, but I’m serious. Local yard sale pages often cover the main city that they are named after and then all the little areas around it. People often belong to multiple local groups covering a huge area. In your listing, say what city you’re in otherwise people will ask or just look over the item completely because they don’t know if you’re close to them or not.
- Follow FCFS. If you have a hot item like a Frozen toy, you’ll have about 10 people commenting that they can come pick up Olaf right now. And if the first person to comment doesn’t actually get it, you’ll have some unhappy mama talking about how you don’t play by the rules. Specify in your ad if the item is first-come first-served or if you’ll hold an item until someone can come and get it.
- Unique New York. eBay typically isn’t a place where you go shopping for stuff you can find at a flea market or yard sale. Name brands and unique items sell on eBay. So if you have some nice digs to sell, eBay will be a great place to start. Have something unique? People are looking for it on eBay.
- Sell In-Season. Not to say you can’t sell something year-round. If someone wants something bad enough they’ll be looking for it until they find it. But to put some cash in your bank account a little faster, go with what’s in season.
- Ship Smart. Depending on what’s being sold, you can end up with bookoo cash or just a few extra bucks. Either way, you want to keep as much of that profit for yourself, so be smart when it comes to shipping. Check out the pricing for UPS, FedEx and USPS. If you use USPS, be sure to know when it’s wise to use their flat rate boxes and when it’s more cost efficient to use your own.
- Sell in Lots. You can buy anything on Craigslist. Anything. But to really catch the smart shopper, group together like items to sell as a lot. Kids toys, kitchen decos, tools…sell together! Buyers feel like they are getting a better deal when they get more bang for their buck. Plus it helps you declutter and get some money all in one swoop.
- Is that your best offer? Really want something gone? Have you had a hard time selling something on other pages and you just want it gone? Those 3 magical little letters, “OBO” seem to be the magic formula to speed up a sale. Of course you’ll want to price accordingly to account for those hagglers who like to feel like they are winning at the bidding and so you won’t be hurting when you do accept a price.
Don’t Get Scammed. Never wire money. Let me repeat that, NEVER EVER wire money. Scammers love to send you too much money in money orders and ask you to wire the difference back. Just say NO! Also keep an eye out for grammar and language errors in emails being sent to you. If someone can’t put together a sentence, your scammer alert should be going off.
Get Paid First. The last thing you want to happen is to be out your item and cash. If that cashiers check someone gave you for the foosball table was fake or their personal check bounced but you already let them take the item, ouch. Your item is long gone and now you owe the bank the money for the check that bounced. When selling an item, make it clear that you won’t hand off or ship an item until the funds clear your account.
Meet in a Public Place. It’s convenient to have someone come to your house to pick up something, but that also invites people with bad intentions into your home. If your spouse is deployed or on assignment, this is a sure fire way to let some stranger know you’re all alone. Scary! Meet in a busy place or a police department parking lot. If someone is not willing to meet you at a police station, then you probably don’t want to meet them.
Don’t Reveal Your Financial Information. Use Paypal or cash. Serious red flags should go up if someone wants to direct deposit into your account or wants to go to your bank and deposit into your account. Paypal and cash are going to be your safer ways to get paid.