Shoring up extra cash has gotten a lot easier thanks to the Internet. Rewind twenty years and garage sales and consignment shops were the main options. Now there’s a slew of websites and mobile apps that enable you to sell your belongings nearly on the fly.
Thanks to digital payments and social media, you have a huge market of potential consumers who can purchase at the click of a mouse.
But unloading your stuff and making serious cash are two separate things. To get top dollars you need to be strategic. From how you price your items to choosing the venue to hawk those goods, follow these five tips to have successes when selling your items online.
5 Tips for Success When Selling Items Online
1. Location Is Everything
When it comes to selling items online, where you list your things can make or break the sale. The Internet is a massive marketplace, with billions of people exchanging ideas and engaging in commerce. It is also very diverse, often segment by particular likes and dislikes.
Understanding where your customers are hanging out online is key to getting the most money from your belongings. If you are into designer suits, selling it on a marketplace that trades in casual clothes won’t make much sense. Nor will hitting up your mom’s friends on social media.
However, the good news is that the Internet does a great job of making it easy to target websites that cater to the type of items you are selling. For instance, there are marketplaces to sell designer clothes, memorabilia, cars, shoes, sporting equipment, electronics, and collectibles.
There are garage sale-type E-commerce sites, such as your local community or neighborhood’s classifieds, and even mainstream sites like Amazon and eBay where you can sell direct or host auctions. Facebook has also become an effective way to sell to people in and outside of your network. Mobile apps that allow you to sell used goods, such as Letgo and OfferUp, have also exploded in recent years. Many are local, enabling you to conduct the transaction in person, for cash.
2. Make Your Posts Stand Out
Let’s face it, you are not the first person to come up with the idea to sell unwanted goods online. After all, the idea that someone’s trash is another person’s treasure wasn’t invented overnight. People have been unloading their old belongings for extra cash for a very long time. And just like you would have to put marketing effort into drawing attention to your garage sale in years past, you have to use similar tactics to create an outstanding post online.
In order to make your post stand out, you want to use words and phrases that catch the eye of web shoppers. You also want to list as many details as possible, making sure to include high-quality photos that show the item in the best light possible. If you don’t include photos with the posting shoppers are quickly going to move on to the next listing.
Be honest with the quality upfront. You want to eliminate as much frustration during the buying process as possible. It’s particularly true if you have a lot of items to sell or if you are selling to friends and acquaintances. Your reputation is everything on the internet. Get one bad review and people are going to steer clear of your items.
3. Sell Locally Via Mobile Apps
The proliferation of smartphone and accompanying mobile apps has made it extremely easy to sell used belongings locally. There is a slew of apps that enable you to post a listing and photos and sell it to someone in your neighborhood. Some of the apps take a cut of the sale, while others are completely free.
There are pros and cons when going this route. You don’t have to spend money on shipping which means more money for you. However, you will have to meet the buyer in person. If you are going this route, make sure to meet in a public venue where you won’t be alone. Bring a friend, spouse or family member if you are concerned about safety.
4. Stay on Top of the Competition
A surefire way to see your goods languish online is to get undercut by the competition. That’s true of any sale, whether it’s a used car or a designer bag.
In order to sell your goods on the quick, you’ll want your listing to be more attractive than your competitor’s listing. That doesn’t mean cutting the price drastically, but it does mean being competitive with your rivals and the pricing your items according to the going rate.
You also want to have more details, better pictures, and more payment choices. Sometimes it’s those little things that make someone purchase your product over that of others. Making sure to check out what the competition is doing on a regular basis and at the very least, matching it will go a long way in increasing your chances of a successful sale.
5. The Price Is Right
At the end of the day, how you price your item will make all the difference in getting it sold quickly, or not at all. Price it too high and people will balk. Price it too low and would-be buyers will wonder what’s wrong with the item. That’s why correct pricing is so important.
In order to price your items correctly, identify how much they are going for new. After all, nobody is going to buy a used item if they can get it new for the same price.
When determining what the going price of the item is new, rely on the rule of supply and demand. For instance, look at the retailer’s inventories. If they have a ton in stock, it’s safe to say that’s the going price. However, if there are only a few left from a handful of online retailers, it provides some pricing wiggle room.
Make sure to do an apple to apple comparison when it comes to determining the current price for your item. There are a lot of different but similar products online. You want to make sure you are pricing it accordingly so check the model numbers or materials.
Once you determine the going price you can set about marking it down based on the quality and the decline in the price over the months or years. Electronics for one example depreciate quickly. Even if it’s only six months old, it may be worth a lot less than you realize. Excluding luxury items such as designer goods, antique jewelry and vintage clothing, the rule of thumb is that the older it is, the lower you should price it.
Thanks to the Internet, it’s easy to raise extra cash by selling your goods online. But standing out in a crowded marketplace can be tough to do. It requires you to make a standout add, price it attractively, and have an easy and seamless sales process. If you can achieve that, you will quickly be on your way to online selling success.
Plus, when you get a few sales, you will build momentum that can motivate you to keep selling and keep earning. The more practice you put into it, the more money you can potentially make.
What tips have helped you sell items online? What would you avoid doing?
Jim Brown is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. He writes about small business, personal finance, and marketing for several digital brands. He lives and works in Miami, Florida.