Too much stuff? 

How to sell online, safely and effectively

By Salman Haqqi

With downsizing, moving and re-decorating on many of our agenda’s, it might be time to say good-bye to some of the items we’re not using, or feeling attached, to anymore.

Traditionally, we’ve given away our things, held garage sales or donated them to church jumble sales because, as the saying goes, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” These days however, a simple and effective way to turn gently used, unwanted furniture, household goods and décor or clothing items is to sell them on-line.  Here are some tips on how to go about that in a simple, safe way:

1. Focus on quality products first
Start off with choosing quality items from your unwanted goods – items that are notably still in good condition and guaranteed to last. This allows you to sell fewer items at a time without overloading your inventory.

This also narrows down the number of products that shoppers scan through on your page without feeling overwhelmed. If interested, shoppers may ask for more similar items.

2.  Detailed item descriptions
Next, it is vital that you cover all the important points that a potential buyer would need to know within your description. This will help customers understand what they’re buying and reduce the number of questions asked, increasing the speed of sale.

Aim to keep descriptions to a minimum, as buyers may not have the time to spend reading, meaning they could go elsewhere in the blink of an eye. Include the brand name, measurements and sizing, condition, material type and any unique details (e.g. embroidery or meshing) to give shoppers a clearer understanding of the product.

One of the most important aspects of your description are hashtags. Using relevant hashtags that relate to your item will help to reach buyers you are hoping to target. Avoid spamming with unnecessary hashtags as this could make you look untrustworthy.

3. Upload unique, but clear photos
Another important step in securing a sale is by ensuring your images show the item clearly. Too often sellers take poor quality photos that are either too dark or have a filter that alters what the item actually looks like. Some even make the cardinal mistake of having messy backgrounds. These are all sure-fire ways to turn a buyer off.

Good lighting and arrangement are essential to flogging your old items, as it shows them in the best way possible. Having a consistent photography style throughout your page will build trust among buyers, too.

4. Keep an eye on current trends
Keeping an eye on trends is extremely important when selling old items online. Looking at the explore page of other verified sellers in resale sites such as Depop can help you understand what is currently in trend.

This is particularly true when it comes to selling fashion items, as old trends often come back around. A recent study by money.co.uk revealed that clothing pieces from the 1920s can earn sellers as much as $318 on resale sites.

5. Maximizing profit
There are various ways to ensure that you are making the most profit from your unwanted goods. As well as considering current trends, shipping costs are also a significant factor that sellers must think about. Whether it is shipping locally or internationally, these can add up and are expensive—especially when sending out multiple orders at once.  Sellers must weigh in on a cost-effective solution and consider the best possible packaging for the size of the products sold. This can help reduce the overall cost spent on packaging materials and shipping.

6. Offer bundle discounts
If you’re having a major clear out, you may be able to sell more items by offering bundle discounts. In the description of your items, mention that you’re willing to offer the items at a reduced rate if more than one item is purchased. This will lead the buyer to your profile and encourage them to have a further look around.

7. Friendly and fast service
Being quick to respond to queries on reselling platforms, such as Depop, eBay, and Facebook marketplace is essential. Make sure you reply to customers within a day, at the latest. This will help you to sell your items faster and keep people interested.

While it is important to respond to people quickly, it is equally important to be approachable. This will help you to build a rapport with the buyer and increase their trust towards you, so they’ll be more inclined to make a purchase.

8. Staying safe online
It is extremely important to stay safe while selling online, so we recommend only communicating with potential buyers using the messaging and chat services provided by each platform. Avoid placing your contact details in your profile or product description. Finally, no matter how trustworthy a buyer seems, you should never dispatch an item without receiving payment first. Whilst it may slightly increase cost, using tracked shipping services could help you avoid falling victim to any buyer scams.

Salman Haqqi is a personal finance expert at money.co.uk a comparison websites for financial services.

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