Tips for Selling Stuff Online
Selling stuff online is a great way to make some extra cash on the side and get rid of some clutter around your house. If you have made a hobby of making or flipping items, you can even make a career out of it. Thanks to the Internet, there are quick and easy ways of communicating with buyers and sellers across the world, as well as many websites and methods of selling different items online. However, simply jumping into it isn’t the best approach. If you want to maximize your profits and protect yourself, here are some tips you should keep in mind:
Understand True Value
You may believe your item is worth one amount, but the actual worth may be drastically different. You don’t want to get ripped off, but you also don’t want to sit on an item because you’re asking for too much. There are many ways of finding out an item’s true value either through online means or an appraiser. Online tools are the cheapest and easiest option; appraisers should only be used for big or particularly rare items.
You should first look for the item’s retail and used prices. Next, look for anything that may increase the value of the item: Is it a special edition? A rare version? Autographed by someone famous in the same industry?
Factors that may negatively affect price should come next. For instance, the item may be damaged, missing pieces or non-functional. For certain electronics, age can be a critical factor as well.
Take all of these factors into consideration and come up with a reasonable price.
Be Careful When Meeting Online Buyers in the Real World
It’s always best to make transactions through online payments and delivery systems. However, there are times when real-life transactions are preferable or your only option. Some people take advantage of online sellers in order to steal their items or even harm them.
Never invite the buyer to your house. Not only does the private location make you more vulnerable to anyone who might do you harm, but you also may be exposing your children and other family members to the threat. Meet in a public location at a time of day when there will be a lot of people. For example, mall parking lots in the middle of the day have a lot of foot traffic; there is security nearby and there should be video cameras around to identify the buyer. You should also bring a strong friend along with you for an extra pair of eyes and added security.
If you want to go the extra mile, have the transaction take place in the local police department parking lot. Just make sure you notify the officers that the exchange will be taking place there.
Get the money before you hand over the item. You can allow the buyer to analyze the item without handing it over in order to also make them more comfortable with the purchase. Remember, many buyers are just as wary of sellers.
If you can, avoid cash transactions and checks. Cash can easily be snatched, and you never know when a check may bounce. Online payments are most preferable even in real-life item transactions. If you have a smartphone, you can still accept checks and even credit cards through special apps and devices.
Maintain a Paper Trail
Some buyers may also be shady and try to get their money back from you by claiming you never sent the item, or if you did, that they never received it. To avoid such false claims and to help keep you organized, always maintain paper documentation of your sales. Print out delivery confirmations, and try to require a signature upon delivery.
Many people are honest when claiming an item has been lost, and it may have been received by another person. If you can prove it, you may be able to retrieve the item and get it to the buyer.
Get Shipping Insurance
You can further protect yourself with shipping insurance, in case you can’t get the item back from the wrong recipient, or it gets lost in the mail or is damaged or destroyed during shipping. This is typically reserved for items that are priced over $100 since covering cheaper items is not the best use of your claims, but it can save you a lot of time, frustration and money.
Take a Lot of High-Quality Pictures
When you shop in a store, you can touch the object, examine it and make a more informed decision. However, when people buy stuff online, they only have your word and your photos to base their decisions on. Because your photos are usually the first thing they’ll see, you should take plenty of high-quality pictures of the item from several angles. They should be taken in an area with good lighting; you don’t want to accentuate damages or imperfections, nor do you want to appear as though you’re trying to hide them.
In addition to giving your potential buyers more incentive to buy your items, these photos provide you with additional insurance. With date stamps and marked photos, you can prove an item was not damaged before shipping.
Write Professional and Detailed Descriptions
Photos may be a buyer’s first impression of your item, but product descriptions are what truly sell them. Many people are turned off by a poorly written and formatted description. To some degree, the level of quality, detail and professionalism that you put into your description reflects on the desirability of what you’re selling. Remember, you’re not simply putting up a listing, you’re actively selling an item to someone else.
Imagine how you’d view the item if you were a buyer. Do you believe there’s enough detail? Are there many grammar, capitalization and spelling errors? Do they seem open and honest about flaws? Do you have too many questions to want to contact the seller for the answers?
Select Your Marketplace
There are many online outlets for selling your products. Some of the most popular options are the Amazon Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist and the Facebook Marketplace. There are also websites for selling specific types of items. For instance, Etsy is commonly used for crafts and clothing, and Chegg is used for books. You can put your listings on several websites to get more exposure, but you must remember to keep track of all transactions and messages from every website.
If you have enough products and the skills to do the creation and upkeep, you can try to make your own online store. However, when you’re just starting out or just doing it for a few items, it’s better to try third-party online marketplaces.
Be aware of the rules at each marketplace and respect them. For instance, some online marketplaces don’t allow the sales of firearms, live animals or graphic materials.
Keep Your Buyers Happy
Clean any used items before shipping. Try to make professional repairs to damaged items before putting them up for sale. Always make buyers aware of where they can contact you, but refrain from posting personal information such as your address and home phone number.
Be kind and courteous to all buyers who have questions, comments or complaints. Respond to as much feedback as you can, whether it’s positive or negative. Stay professional and courteous through every response, even if the buyer is being hostile. Go the extra mile for buyers when you can. For instance, if they’re interested in an extra item, try to make them a deal and offer it for a discounted price.
Selling items online can quickly remove clutter from your house or turn your hobby into a career. Anyone can utilize the tools and opportunities that the Internet provides to make some extra cash by selling stuff online, but following these tips will ensure that you attract the right buyers, maximize your profits and stay safe in the process.