Since 2003 I’ve bought and sold items from online marketplaces to give my things a second life while making extra money. I can also accumulate top-quality items for a fraction of the recommended retail price. One of my most popular blog posts talks about the differences between online marketplaces, including eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree.
So because that post was so popular, I wanted to follow up with my insights and experiences using different tactics to sell items online for top dollar. I’ve also included my tips on buying high-quality designer items. But before we get into it, here are some of my most worthy purchases over the years, using my tactics to buy and sell online.
- The item: An estate tennis bracelet. Value: $7000. Purchased for: $700US
- The item: A designer gold ring. Value: $3200. Purchased for $465AUD
- The item: Empty shoe boxes carry bags and perfume bottles. Value: Free. Sold for: $700-$1000
- Pre-owned items like a baby cot, pram and jewellery sold more than what I paid for even after 4 years of use!
Tips for selling online
How to get top dollar for your unwanted items
Properly merchandise the items –Who wants to see photos of items with cute furry pets and messy little toddlers in them? Despite their cuteness, I sure don’t. Buyers don’t want to see photos of something they feel has been used. Instead, place the item in a brightly lit, nicely decorated area and pay attention to the background.
I’ve sold items faster and got a lot more money when my photos use good lighting and have a nice background.
Include video – Include in your listing that you can always share a video of your selling item if the marketplace you use doesn’t allow it. Video is great when the item is high priced, for instance, if you’re selling electronics, jewellery or furniture. The more information you give the prospective buyer, the better your chances of selling for the price you want. Your job as the seller is to remove all doubt from your prospective buyer’s mind in the fastest time possible to guarantee the best possible chance of a quick sale for the price you want
The more photos, the better –Don’t be shy. Show as many photos as allowed. There’s nothing worse than seeing a listing with only one photo or a photo taken from a website of the item. It shows the seller is lazy, and I don’t want to work more than I have to for sale (unless I have to!). Take photos from angles like the front, back, side, top and bottom. Include close-up shots of any important details. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and think, what would you want to see if you were buying the item you’re selling?
Use multiple platforms – Share your ad across all the platforms, including eBay, Facebook Marketplace & Gumtree. 80% of the things I sell are listed and sold across multiple platforms. You can read this post on why I do this LINK)
Test the market. Give it time to engage with a buyer – Never be in a hurry to sell, as this leaves you selling your items for a low price. Do your research if you’re not sure of the price to sell. See what a similar thing is selling for on other marketplaces. If they’ve been listed for some time, for example, more than 2 weeks, there’s something wrong. It usually means the seller has priced the item too high. You can also test the price. For instance, start with a price you have in mind, and if you don’t get bites, reduce it slowly. I usually do this for Facebook because the feedback is immediate compared to eBay or Gumtree, where the communication between the buyer and seller is slower.
Are you getting many views and still unable to sell your items? If you’re getting a lot of views and not getting enough inquiries or are unable to sell your item, I’d say it’s a price issue. If this is the case, wait a while. Then, delete and relist the ad, so it’s fresh and at the top of the listings when people search for it. Or reduce the price, which will result in more views and inquiries.
Not enough views? If your listing isn’t attractive enough to viewers, experiment by changing the title, updating the description or even better, reducing the price.
Cross or upsell –If you’re a serious online seller, treat each ad as a chance to sell your other items listed. Include in the ad that you’re selling other items. So when the buyer reaches your ad, they know to look at the other things you need to sell. For example, I include at the bottom of my ads to check out my other items as I’m currency having a massive clean out (or something along these lines).
Be flexible – State if it’s pick-up or delivery. It makes it easy and quick for the buyer to buy your item.
Reply right away! You’re competing with every other listing. Your reply rate is reflected in your platform stats. Gumtree, for example, displays your reply rate when someone checks out your profile. The faster you reply to messages, the more chances you have to sell your item faster.
Include details/photos of any packaging and receipt – Buyers usually want to see these things. Therefore, remove any doubt in their minds about the advertised item’s authenticity, age and condition.
Buying – how to get the best quality items for the best price
Be confident in the condition of what you are buying, especially if you’re not picking it up in person! Most of the items I purchase are posted, or I have someone else pick them up and deliver them to me.
Make sure to see the video of the item – If you have any doubt, ask for more photos or videos.
ALWAYS check the seller’s profile – If they don’t have strong feedback, be aware! Don’t be afraid to ask them for a reason why they don’t have any feedback on Facebook Marketplace or eBay. For example, I rarely ever buy a high-priced item from a seller who:
- Has recently joined the platform
- Has no stars/feedback against their profile
- Has a suspicious photo or name
- Ask to see a copy of the receipt and proof of purchase. You want to make sure what’s listed is the correct age and that the details are correct. I have often asked for this only to discover the item selling is older than what the seller says!
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Research the same item across other marketplaces to better understand the price – When you message the seller, state that this is your offer because you’ve seen the same thing listed elsewhere. It shows you’re serious, that if the seller doesn’t accept your offer, you’ll go elsewhere. Also, include in the message how you want to pay and when you can pick it up. Make it easy and fast for the seller to get back to you.
I usually go in with a low offer with the seller and agree to an amount at the halfway point. You’ll get a buzz when you know you are buying an exceptional item for a bargain price.
- Consider the resale value when buying.
Why not consider a resale value if you’re buying a high-priced item? I don’t hold onto things for a long time and usually do a refresh every 5 years. Therefore, I make sure I don’t waste or throw out anything. I collect all the information I can when I buy high-priced items, everything from furniture, jewellery and even pieces of clothing. This process allows me to own the item for a few years and resell it. Usually, I only pay a fraction of the original RRP. This strategy is fantastic for cashflow as I’m never in debt when I want to buy something nice because I’m constantly buying and reselling. I’ve operated like this since 2003. By following my tactics, I make buying and selling easier and faster because I have this checklist that I follow every time I buy and sell online.
Search in other locations (even in other countries) – Don’t restrict yourself to your location when searching for the item you want to buy. For example, I’m looking for a vermeil gold chunky designer necklace to wear to an event later this year. So I’ve started searching on Facebook Marketplace using the max distance they allow me, which is 500km from my location. But by changing my location, I’ve widened my search to other capital cities in Australia. I won’t stop here, though. I use this strategy to search from different locations in the US, NZ and even the UK to ensure I find exactly what I need for the price I want. Luckily this isn’t a hard thing to find, so I probably won’t resort to having to search and buy from the US, NZ or the UK.
So there you have it. Here are my tactics to make sure you get the most value regarding reselling (or buying) online. If you have any comments or suggestions (or questions), feel free to pop them in the comments below.
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