Frugal sustainability
Simple Living

How to Sell Your Used Items Online

Have you been spending quarantine times decluttering your house hoping to have a garage sale this summer? (If you haven’t started your spring clean yet, check out this post for 3 easy steps to get started.) It’s still pretty unsure if garage sales will be able to happen this summer, so it might be best to try selling online.

One of my side hustles is buying, refinishing, and reselling furniture online. Since I spend quite a bit of time reading and constructing online ads because of this, I’ve seen a lot of the good and bad that’s out there. I’ve put together a comprehensive list so that you can create more effective sales posts for the items you want to sell. Hopefully this will result in more successful sales for you!

Scroll to the bottom of the post for a free download to keep track of your sales!

Some Tips to Start

Communication is key. It’s also important to remember that a lot of people aren’t going to read what you write in the ad. So the communication needs to happen in both text and in photos.

Title

Give clear basic information for what you are selling. Include size, material, brand and what the item is.

For example:
Women’s Blue Patagonia Cotton T-shirt, Small
Oak Kitchen Chairs, set of four

It’s good to be clear so that people can easily find your ad if they are looking for a certain size or material.

Photos

The photos you include in the ad should be clear. It is best to get every side/angle of the item included. If there are any defects in the item you are selling, make sure to include a picture of this so the buyer can make an informed decision. Showing the defects can help the buyer be confident you are being transparent in what you are selling.

How to Price an Item

The way I price an item is by keeping these things in mind:

1. The price has to be worth my effort to sell (also needs to cover the cost of any materials I put into an item if I worked on it)
2. The price has to be worth their effort to come and pick the item up. If it’s priced too high, the person may as well buy new from the store.
3. The price point has to make sense. If you price something too low, it can seem questionable–why is this such a good deal? If you are pricing low, explain why you are.
4. Include room to bargain. A lot of people will try to get a deal better than the one you post. You have every right to say “no, I’m sorry” to any offer, but I will often post at my preferred price and keep a “will go as low as” option in mind.
5. The price of $5 can be more effective than $2. Sometimes I want to try and sell smaller items at a smaller price point, but have found that higher priced items sell better. I think this is due to the effort in going to a place for one low priced item. If you’re able to bundle items for a higher price and value, this may work in your favour.

What Information to Include

General Sales Information

For the sales communications side of your post, make sure to include the following information:

  • Price (if your price is non-negotiable, make sure to state this)
  • Methods of payment (if you accept e-transfers, cash only, etc)
  • Location (I never give out my full address until a pick up time is set, but will include my nearest cross-streets/intersection information in the ad) **Please make sure you are practicing security measures if you are selling out of your home or arranging public meet ups.
  • If you are comfortable with porch pick ups for the items you are selling, it is worth mentioning in the ad
  • Any offer of delivery, including areas you’re willing to travel to and the delivery price

The basics to include for any item you’re selling are sizes, brands, quality, dimensions, but here is an item specific list:

Clothing

If it’s possible, adult clothes are best displayed in photos on a person or a mannequin form. But since most of us don’t have a mannequin laying around, try getting at least one photo of you wearing the item. You can always leave your face out of the photo for security reasons.

  • Size (and how it fits compared to the size)
  • Brand
  • Material
  • Condition
  • How many times you wore the item if it will help the sale (for example, if it’s a formal dress you’ve only worn once)
  • Photos include: front, back, close up of any details, tags for sizing/material/washing instructions, photo of item being worn in order to show the fit
Shoes

When taking photos, make sure to get photos of the sole and heels to show the wear on the shoes.

  • Size (and how they fit, ie. tight, large)
  • Brand
  • Condition
  • Any marks people should know about
  • Photos include: side view, top-view, heel, sole, toe, inside
Furniture

Second hand furniture can be a fantastic deal for the buyer and the seller. The buyer saves money and the seller doesn’t have to pay to move or discard it. It is helpful to note if in your ad if the item is exceptionally heavy or large so that the buyer knows if they will need help to take it home.

  • Type of item
  • Colour
  • Material
  • Dimensions
  • Any imperfections, marks, scratches or dents
  • Suggestions of alternate uses for an item (If it’s a stool that can be used as a plant stand, make that suggestion)
  • Note if the item is exceptionally large or heavy so buyer knows if they need help to move it.
  • Delivery fee, if offering
Books

Books are traditionally hard to sell online. Selling in batches might be a more effective option. Another way to try is to post a variety of books that people can choose from for a bulk price, such as 3 for $5.

  • Title and Author
  • If there are any markings, underlining or highlighting on the pages
  • Photos include: front and back covers, spine
DVDs

If you’re selling DVD’s, keep in mind that a lot of new movies can be purchased from Walmart for $5 each and Value Village sells box sets for $5 on average.

  • Name of the movie (typing this in the post will help your ad show up in a search if someone is looking for your specific show)
  • Any scratches or markings on the DVD/how well it plays
  • Photos include: front and back of covers, front and back of the DVD
Jewelry

Jewelry can be a challenge to sell as well as they are such personal items.

  • Size or length
  • Material
  • Appraisal information and whether you have documentation
  • Any scratches or other imperfections
  • How the item has been stored and/or cared for
  • Photos include: close ups of any special details, the item being worn if possible, the item being displayed in a display or storage box, the clasp if it has one

Final Tips

If you are selling a brand new, unused item, it is helpful to explain why so the person knows it’s a legitimate sale and not a stolen item. For example, I’ve sold clothes brand new with tags because I missed the return-by date for an online purchase. Perhaps you received something as a gift that you just don’t need. There are a number of valid reasons and sharing a brief reason can help build confidence in the purchase.

When typing your sales ad, keep in mind that some people will reach your post via search. This means two things: (1) make sure you are using clear and accurate descriptive words so that you show up in the correct search and (2) don’t include unrelated words that would cause you to show up in pointless searches.

Abbreviations

There are a number of abbreviations that you might see online, such as:

BNWT = Brand New With Tags
BNIB = Brand New In Box
BNWOT = Brand New Without Tags
GUC = Good Used Condition
EUC = Excellent Used Condition

Free Download!

Download this online sales tracker to keep track of items posted, customer interest, and sales!

Click the link below to download:

Online Sales Tracker


Will you be selling items online this summer? What is your favourite site to use?

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