Business

Six tips to beat cost-of-living crisis by flogging your unwanted goods online


HIT back at the sky-high cost of living by becoming an online seller.

Whether you are flogging outgrown clothes or a comfy sofa, you can convert unwanted gear into cash.

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Janine McDonald, 51, from Manchester, uses Facebook sell-and-swap groups and says: “There are no fees and people pick things up straight away

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Janine McDonald, 51, from Manchester, uses Facebook sell-and-swap groups and says: “There are no fees and people pick things up straight awayCredit: Paul Cousans

Listing items via online platforms is easy enough . . . but Sun Money’s Mel Hunter has spoken to successful sellers for insights to help you make as much as possible.

PICK THE BEST PLATFORM

THERE is no shortage of places to sell, from eBay to trendy app Depop. Local Facebook groups and Gumtree also reach bargain-hungry buyers.

Author Dan Wilson, who wrote ake Serious Money On eBay UK, Amazon And Beyond says there are 100-plus places to list items for sale online

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Author Dan Wilson, who wrote ake Serious Money On eBay UK, Amazon And Beyond says there are 100-plus places to list items for sale online

Dan Wilson, author of Make Serious Money On eBay UK, Amazon And Beyond, reckons there are 100-plus places to list items for sale online.

There are specialist sites, such as Bricklink — a marketplace just for Lego — alongside the more general sites, such as Preloved, Shpock and Nextdoor.

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To be seen by the most sellers, eBay still comes out top, but the site will take 12.8 per cent of your sale.

Facebook’s Marketplace is handy for flogging things that need to be collected, such as kids’ bikes or big furniture.

Depop and Vinted focus mainly on fashion and accessories. Depop takes ten per cent for each item sold while Vinted has zero selling fees.

BE PICTURE PERFECT

MAKING your selling pitch picture perfect is essential.

Posting photos of scrunched-up clothes or furniture in a dim, cluttered room is a big turn-off.

Author Dan says: “Well-lit, well-composed, useful images clinch sales.” 

Max your selling pitch by using snaps taken against a plain-white, uncluttered background.

David Brackin, founder of Stuff U Sell, says: “Clothes shown on models or mannequins look more tempting than those on a hanger on the back of a door.”

DON’T WASTE WORDS

YOU won’t close a sale if people can’t find your item.

Seasoned seller Anna Cargan says: 'Don’t waste your title on words that people are unlikely to use themselves'

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Seasoned seller Anna Cargan says: ‘Don’t waste your title on words that people are unlikely to use themselves’Credit: fish2photography

Start with putting the brand, style and colour at the start of your listing.

Seasoned seller Anna Cargan, who runs secondhand kids’ clothes site buildabundle.co.uk, says: “Don’t waste your title on words that people are unlikely to use themselves.

“Nobody is going to be searching for ‘beautiful and pretty age-three dress’ — but they might be searching for ‘age-three summer party dress’.”

But mum-of-three Anna, of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, warns that you must be truthful.

She adds: “eBay usually sides with the buyer if there are any issues.”

David, of Stuff U Sell, which has sold more than half a million items on eBay for other people, adds: “eBay also offers categorisation, using specifics such as size, style and condition.

“The more of these you fill in, the more likely you are to be found.”

GET THE PRICE RIGHT

YOU need to set a price that is low enough to generate interest but still brings you as much profit as possible.

Anna says: “Research the market price for similar items. Use the ‘advanced search’ option and tick the ‘completed items’ box to see listings sold recently by other sellers.”

Sunday evening is a good time to list items or, if you are using an auction, to set the deadline for last bids.

That is when more people are competing online for the best buys.

On eBay, the seller can invite best offers on their items, targeting buyers who have already shown an interest. 

“This can get an interested watcher to part with their cash,” says David.

DON’T PAY TO POST

MAKE items “collect only” if you can. If not, factor mail costs into the selling price.

David Brackin says: 'Royal Mail is expensive compared to some couriers'

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David Brackin says: ‘Royal Mail is expensive compared to some couriers’

But be warned: Inflating the cost of postage could deter buyers.

Anna says: “Weigh items on bathroom or kitchen scales before listing them, to make sure they fit the weight limits for the postage service you’re using.

“It’s unlikely people will pay postage to buy just one kids’ T-shirt.

A bundle of five T-shirts and five shorts is more likely to sell.”

Shop around, too.

David Brackin says: “Royal Mail is expensive compared to some couriers.”

BUYER BEWARE

ALWAYS message your buyer via the site rather than sharing other contact details, and never hand over anything without getting payment first.

Scams, including where a buyer claims not to have received an item, are not uncommon.

So keep postage receipts, tracking information and photos of the item for at least three months.

Dan is not a fan of selling tech, such as phones, on eBay, due to problems caused by fraudulent buyers.

If exchanging in person, ask to meet in a public place.

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If they come to your home, hand things over on the doorstep and have someone else there, too.

Use official payment systems. If you’re dealing in person, always ask for cash.

‘NO-FEE ITEMS GO QUICKLY’

PROFESSIONAL declutterer Janine McDonald sells items online for herself and for clients of her business Clear The Clutter Now.

PROFESSIONAL decluttererJanine McDonald sells items online for herself and for clients of her business Clear The Clutter Now.

Janine, 51, from Manchester, uses Facebook sell-and-swap groups and says: “There are no fees and people pick things up straight away.

“If it’s sunny, people want garden furniture now, not in a week’s time. The downside is it’s hard to search for things.”

She uses Facebook Marketplace to sell things relating to certain times of year, such as Halloween.

“I set a minimum price I’d accept, so I’m not short-changed,” she adds.

“On eBay, I use the auction option rather than Buy It Now as you tend to get a better price, especially if you time the auction to end on a Sunday evening.”

To sell quality togs, she turns to Vinted. “Last Christmas a client made £1,000 selling designer clothes,” she says.

But take photos that will help items sell, like the soles of barely worn shoes, she suggests. Include pics of any faults, to avoid complaints.

She adds: “See what similar items have sold for and don’t settle for less.”





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