Once upon a time, if you wanted to sell your stuff online in Australia, eBay was the only site to bother with. Oh sure, there were other options, but the only place to get serious click-traffic was down at the bay. But times they are a changin’. More and more websites are popping up and hopping on the bandwagon to help you sell your surplus so that they can take a little slice of the profits.
Rejoice! Choices are always a good thing and with more places to sell than ever before, you’re more likely to find your target market.
Here is how to make money online by selling things.
The original online marketplace, eBay began with predominantly online auctions and second hand goods. Over the years more and more people have leapt on the opportunity to run their own business from home and eBay is now host to thousands of stores selling brand new, factory second and used goods both at auction and for buy-it-now purchase.
Listing on eBay is free for the first 30 items a month, then ranges from 50c to $3 depending on the start price of your item. In addition, you’ll be looking at a final value fee when your product does sell, a commission of 7.9%. Certainly not the cheapest option around.
Sadly, the influx of cheap brand new imports has pushed the sale price of many items down (clothing and jewellery, primarily) and most eBay buyers are looking for a bargain, but there are still good prices to be had on unique items. eBay provides protection to buyers which is a boon to sellers as people know if they click “buy” through eBay, they’re not going to get scammed. With the largest following in the online auction world, you’re more likely to connect with a potential customer on eBay but you’ll pay for the privilege.
A bit like the online classified section of your newspaper, Gumtree is good for selling larger items locally, like bicycles, fridges or furniture. Gumtree, a subsidiary of eBay, is not about auctions nor does it allow a regulated contract of purchase system like its owner. This is simply a place to advertise and let the buyers contact you. Where you go with it from there is up to you but the beautiful thing is, no fees.
Much the same as Gumtree, Trading Post online is the same as advertising in the classifieds. Fees vary according to what it is you’re trying to sell and are a one-off payment for a 12 month listing. Cars for example, attract the highest fee at $50 for a year, but anything under $500 is free to list and sell.
Previously known as Oztion, Quick Sales was set up to compete with the burgeoning eBay market. It offers the option of listing your item as a classified for free (in the same vein as Gumtree and Trading Post) or listing your item as an auction or buy-it-now sale, as eBay does. The latter will cost you 2% in commission if and when the item sells which is a darn sight cheaper than some other sites, but the foot traffic here is limited and buyers are looking for bargains.
Etsy is the marketplace for all things artsy, craftsy, handmade and vintage and I don’t mind admitting, I’m more than just a little bit addicted to it. You won’t offload your old DVDs here, but if you are a blossoming artisan, this is the site on which to peddle your wares. Everything from greeting cards to pickled fruit sells on this site and if it’s homemade, people want it.
Etsy doesn’t provide the buyer protection that eBay does but it does allow for permanent feedback to be left and offers a user-friendly interface for the first time seller. Fees are reasonable starting at 20c to list and 3.5% commission on sales, and are well worth the exposure you get to a global community passionate about buying handmade merchandise.
ASOS Marketplace – marketplace.asos.com
ASOS has long been a mecca for cheap online fashion (and free postage, my dears!) but only in recent times has it been a location to make back some of your shopping expenditure. Catering to a youthful, fashion focused crowd, ASOS Marketplace requires a more professional touch than eBay or Gumtree. Sellers on ASOS must display their garments on a live model, photographed in natural daylight. This can be difficult if you’re a one person operation or only have the time to do your pic’s at night! Fees are hefty too at 10% commission for casual sales and 20% if you want to set up a store but if you’ve got the goods, you can charge a higher price here and the buyers will come.
It’s kind of surprising this trend didn’t take off sooner what with everybody facebooking, tweeting and instagramming each other every 5 minutes. A swag of savvy young sellers are offloading their unwanted goods direct to the public on Facebook, cutting out the middleman (and his fees). The pros are obvious, there are no fees or commissions for selling on Facebook whatsoever. You can upload photos and write whatever description you want, leave your listing up as long as you like and really run your own show.
The cons are that the only people who’ll see it will be people you’re connected to and they may not necessarily be interested. There is no infrastructure for sales so you’re basically on your own and with non-existent buyer protection, potential customers may be hesitant to send payment. Proceed with caution!
Online selling can be a great way to Spring-clean your life and make a little extra cash but if you just can’t seem to offload it, sometimes it’s best to just give it to charity. As you hand over that bag of stuff you paid top dollar for and can’t even sell for a cent, may it serve as a reminder to be ever more frugal in future.