How to Sell your Own Things Online

Isaac Fernandez

You wake up one day, and you realize you’ve got too much stuff and not enough sweet, sweet money and space. 

Why did you buy this? You meant to return these, but the process was way too complicated. Maybe you can’t stop baking adorable clay keyring charms, and you need to get around to unloading them. Or, uh-oh — it’s moving time, you’re downsizing, and you literally cannot bring all of this.

Whether you’re thinking, “What can I sell for quick cash?” or “How can I monetize my creations or belongings?”, it’s very useful to know how to sell things online. We’ll break it down a bit for you and get you pointed toward some of the best online selling sites and apps.

What to Consider Before Buying and Selling Online

What to Consider Before Buying and Selling Online

If you’re diving into online selling, don’t be surprised if you eventually end up a customer. It can also be useful to understand both sides of the process. So perhaps the first thing to consider is whether or not you’d be comfortable making a purchase off a specific platform. What do you like or dislike about it, and how could you leverage or remedy that for your own customers?

  1. Some platforms are a better fit for long-term selling. Determine whether you’d prefer your own little storefront to keep over time, or just want to offer one-off stuff from time to time.
  2. How quickly would you like to sell things online? Some platforms have a better turnaround time on average. Depending on your item, a local marketplace will likely be the best bet to quickly get rid of it.
  3. Taking the last two questions into account, are you willing to meet with strangers for that speedy hand-off? It doesn’t have to be at anyone’s house or in an abandoned K-Mart parking lot 45 minutes away — if it’s all local, outside a grocery store or coffee shop is fine if you can both agree. But if even that’s outside your comfort zone, you’ll want to stick to platforms with the expectation of shipping.
  4. How flexible are you on paying to list and the listing site getting a cut? This one is unavoidable in some form or another, but you may only want to sell things online for free, with no listing fees (or very small ones, if you’re flexible). That will help you narrow down choices. 
  5. It’s basically impossible to get around different e-commerce fees, even if you sell things online on your website. To figure out where you draw the line, you’ll have to do some additional research once you find specific platforms to sell things online.

Where Can I Sell My Stuff? A Curated List of Selling Platforms 

Not all platforms are created equal, of course. Some of these require a higher level of detail, more information than a single picture, and what the heck the item is. But in all cases, it benefits shoppers the more thorough you are. 

  • Be prepared to take clear, bright pictures and provide useful information like sizing, measurements, real-life color, how old it is, etc. — otherwise, people will just ask anyway, and the entire process slows down. 
  • Be transparent about an item’s condition — note any problems, blemishes, points of interest. It gives potential buyers the whole picture and lets them know you’re a trustworthy seller.
  • If you’re shipping, you’ll need the pricing whether you plan to build it into your list price or alert shoppers. 
  • And be prepared to hear some haggling or counteroffers!

Now let’s take a look at these websites to sell things online for free and some of the best online selling apps.

Bonanza

  • Bonanza is a varied online marketplace with plenty of categories to choose from — basically, you can find or list anything you want to buy or sell.
  • Bonanza selling has no fees until a sale goes through (extra costs upon sale are par for the course).
  • There’s a nifty import/sync system with Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and Etsy. And they also work with Google Shopping to help your listings get an edge with potential customers elsewhere on the web.

Etsy

  • Etsy is an eclectic online marketplace for handmade goods, vintage items, and personal art. 
  • There’s a lot of leeway in what you can find or sell there, with individual storefronts perfect for listing many things at once. 
  • Listing an item is only around 20 cents, but there are a handful of other fees that apply to sales that you’ll need to look into.

Facebook Marketplace/Social Media

  • Facebook Marketplace is sort of like Craigslist without anonymity. 
  • You can list and view all sorts of items, vehicles, and rentals. It’s free to post almost anything, but you need a Facebook account.
  • Although other social media doesn’t have a free, built-in marketplace for users, you can still leverage networks and hashtags there to see if anyone is interested locally or afar.

Craigslist

  • Craigslist is a well-known international online platform for people to buy, sell, and look for whatever they want, broken up by locale, then further by category.
  • It’s possible to create a free post without even signing up, but an account adds convenience.
  • Craigslist has gotten a bad rap over the years, but if you use it wisely and carefully (as a buyer or seller), it still works great.

OfferUp, Letgo, Mercari

  • OfferUp is a free mobile-first local marketplace with a simple, easy app and browsable website. They have shipping options available at a cost.
  • Letgo is an internationally available website and app for local buyers and sellers. It’s free and simple, and competes with OfferUp — but no one says you can’t try both.
  • Mercari is an easy-to-use marketplace app with a website, whose niche is that it’s based around shipping out items rather than meeting up locally.

Nextdoor

  • Nextdoor is available online and as an app, connecting members of a neighborhood to create a community. 
  • For our purposes, Nextdoor also functions as a sales bulletin board. You can make a listing or just let people know about what you’ve got.

Poshmark

  • Poshmark is a secondhand fashion and apparel marketplace that functions through its app but has a browsable website. If you want to unload some clothes or shoes, this is a great choice.
  • It’s simple and free to list, and they’ll send you shipping labels to get your items out to shoppers. Keep in mind they get a cut of each sale — almost $3 under $15, and a 20%/80% split above that, but there aren’t sales fees beyond that.

Amazon

  • The Amazon marketplace breaks down how to sell things online in great detail for its potential sellers. 
  • They have lots of guidelines about product pages and specify which kinds of accounts can sell what.
  • It’s not free to list on Amazon, but for an individual seller account, the price is pretty modest, while a pro account without restrictions runs about $40/month. There are also additional sales costs to consider, as well.

eBay

  • eBay has been in operation since 1995, and you can buy and sell basically any items new and used, recent, and classic.
  • Auction sites like eBay let you bid on items to get the best price as a shopper, but for the sellers, you can also set a “buy it now” fixed-price or a reserve that must be reached before you’ll let the item go.
  • It’s free to list up to 50 items a month, with a modest fee after that. But as with some of these other sellers, make sure you’re aware of the additional sales costs, and options for storefront subscriptions.

Takeaway 

When you want to sell stuff online for cash, you have plenty of options. Just think over the particulars of your situation to narrow them down. And even if you don’t want to think about it too hard, some quick and simple apps help you sell things online in no time. In the end understand computer specs and consider making your computer faster.

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