Over the past few weeks, you’ve learned what you need to get started, sources for where you can find things to sell, and what categories of items to buy and resell. If you haven’t checked these past three posts in the series, I would recommend you go back and start at the beginning before reading today’s material. You can access all three posts below:
This week we are going to address the question “Where do I sell my items?” In this post, I’m going to talk about several options for selling your items and some of the details surrounding each venue. Each is different and has its own advantages/disadvantages depending on what you’re trying to sell. The venues will be broken up into online and in-person.
EBay is where I have all of my online selling experience. Is it because eBay is the best place to sell online? Maybe. Maybe not, depending on what is being sold. When I first began my resale side business, a friend of mine referred me to eBay and that’s where I’ve been selling the whole time.
EBay is great because it allows for a hands-on experience where you can customize your listings and create an eBay store brand. With eBay, you handle everything from taking pictures and creating your listings to interacting with customers, handling shipments, and managing feedback. EBay tends to be the better place to sell collectibles and unique or rare items. EBay has more of a “garage sale” feel compared to its main competitor Amazon because each listing will have a unique look and feel to it.
EBay’s basic fee structure consists of insertion fees and final-value fees. There are a myriad of additional features you can add to your listing for a fee in order to provide more exposure and make your listing stand out.
For those selling several items on eBay, there are three different eBay store subscriptions you can purchase that will provide some fee savings, depending on your level of selling.
Basic Store Details:
• Cost: $19.95 per month (or $15.95 monthly if you purchase an annual subscription)
• Free insertion fee on first 150 listings each month (without a store, first 50 listings are free and then $0.30 per listing)
• Discounted insertion fee after first 150 listings
• 10% discount on final value fees
• Higher visibility in search rankings
It only takes 67 monthly listings, after your first 50 free listings you would have had otherwise, (67*.30 = $20.10) to cover the cost of a basic store from this savings alone. See www.ebay.com for a full fees schedule and list of store benefits.
Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world, so traffic is one of its major advantages when considering where to sell online. However, with all of this traffic comes competition from all of the other sellers competing for this traffic.
There are two different options when selling on Amazon:
1. You can be an “individual” seller.
• No monthly fee
• $0.99 fee per listing
• Referral and variable closing fees (variable fees for media items only)
2. You can be a “professional” seller.
• Cost: $39.99 monthly fee
• Unlimited number of listings without additional listing fees
• Referral and variable closing fees (variable fees for media items only)
Based on the two different options, it would be advantageous to become a professional seller if you are selling over 40 items per month.
One aspect of Amazon that makes it unique from eBay is it provides a service (for an additional fee) to hold inventory and ship items out to the customer for the seller. If you are selling in high volumes for items that are homogenous in nature, you may be able to take advantage of these services to scale up your business.
Etsy is quickly growing into one of the most recognized online marketplaces, serving a unique niche in the resale market. It is an online marketplace devoted to the selling of homemade goods, craft supplies, and vintage items. For something to qualify as “vintage” it must be 20 years old or older.
Etsy is of particular interest to me because of the vintage goods category. However, I’ve never signed up and attempted a sale…yet.
If you are into making homemade goods and have thought about selling them for a profit, Etsy would be a good option for you.
Etsy’s fee schedule is very straight-forward:
• $0.20 listing fee (each listing lasts for the longer of 4 months or when the item sells)
• 3.5% final value fee.
Craigslist is really a cross between an online and in-person selling venue.
On Craigslist.org, you create listings online to sell your items locally. Then, you go meet the buyer to make the exchange or have the buyer come to your house or business to pick up the purchased item.
For any Craigslist transaction, I would recommend you meet the buyer in a very public place during the day and never give out your address unless it is absolutely necessary. For most items, this is possible to do. In some cases, however, your item may be too large to transport. As a result, the buyer would have to pick the item up from you at your house or business. In these cases, only supply the buyer with your address after he has responded to the ad. Never put your home address in your ad.
If you have to meet someone after dark to make an exchange, choose a well-lit high-traffic area of town in order to provide for the safest environment. Be smart and use your judgment here.
• Free listings
• No additional fees
• No shipping costs on heavy items that would cost a fortune to ship
• Limited market since you are dealing with mostly local buyers
Flea Markets can be a great place to sell your items if you are a serious seller. Flea markets generate a lot of foot traffic and can be a profitable venue if you have the right location. Location is everything when it comes to selling at flea markets.
A few years back, I tried to sell some of my excess inventory at a flea market for a couple of weekends with some friends. We all shared a booth and took turns managing the booth. The first weekend, we had a great location in one of the main buildings, which resulted in a few hundred bucks profit. The second weekend we were stuck in a small building off the main path, which received significantly less foot traffic causing our sales to suffer dramatically. As a result, we lost money on the second weekend.
If you are going to attempt to sell at a flea market, research the grounds and only pay for a booth if your location will generate significant traffic and exposure.
To operate a booth at a flea market:
• Pay a fee to host of event (fee varies depending on size of event)
• Purchase a one-day business license for the event (depends on city hosting event)
You will benefit from these fees because advertising for the event is taken care of for you by the event planners.
Garage sales are good for selling miscellaneous stuff from around your house. Selling unwanted or duplicate items in your house can result in a small profit if you would prefer this rather than donating to your local charity or thrift store.
People typically go to garage sales expecting bargains, so don’t expect to get top dollar for your quality items.
I have seen some people get pretty creative with garage sales. For example, I once met some folks who were extreme couponers. They would take advantage of multiple coupons/discounts to amass large quantities of household products for pennies on the dollar, and then sell them for deep discounts at garage sales.
Another creative way to make some money with garage sales is to place an ad on Craigslist.org advertising you will pick up anyone’s leftover yard sale items for free so they don’t have to take them down to Goodwill. Then, you can pick the items up and host your own yard sale to sell the stuff. Your cost in the inventory will be free (except for the gas money to transport the items), so anything you collect for selling the stuff will be pure profit.
The best part about garage sales is that there are no selling fees! The biggest cost with garage sales is the time and energy you spend.
You’re Ready to Pick a Selling Venue
So there you have it. I have given you three online options and three in-person options for starting your resale adventure. Each venue has its own unique features and advantages. Therefore, it will be advantageous for you to learn about all of them to some degree to find the market that works best for you. It may be one venue or it may be a combination of several.
Pick one today that you can start with to gain some resale experience. If it works, stick with it. If it doesn’t, try another.
The important thing when considering resale as a side business or hobby is to get out there and start somewhere. Starting is often the most difficult part of anything. By doing so, you’ll be well on your way to resale success as you learn and grow your skills and knowledge along the way.
This week’s bonus is a fee comparison for five different items for the three online venues discussed in this post (EBay, Amazon, and Etsy). I created this bonus material to highlight how each venue will rank differently for fees depending on the item. This will give you some initial insight into online selling fees as you start experimenting with an online selling venue.
To access the free PDF, click below:
Stay tuned for the next post in the series entitled “What Goes Into an Effective Online Listing?” You’ll be able to learn from my experience what the key ingredients are to a successful listing. I’m looking forward to continuing this series with you!