While not necessarily saving money, I’m going to talk about making money today. Selling old, used (or unused) household items is a great way to make money.
During the summer and warmer months, it’s as easy as setting up a yard sale and advertising it with signs and a few public posts on online forums.
But yard sales are seasonal, and then rest of the year, you are stuck with trying to sell stuff online.
However, a lot of people have troubles selling stuff online.
Because- Selling online SUCKS.
No matter what platform you use, how detailed your posts may be, or how low your prices could be, you will always have some troubles.
It’s pretty much a law that you have to deal with low ballers and flakey people.
I can’t help you with removing these types of people from your life, as the internet is filled with them. #Sorry
I can, however, help you to sell that stuff online.
Which in turn will limit your interaction with these time wasting people.
With just these 3 pieces of detailed advice, we can turn your used items into a nice chunk of cash money in your wallet.
[Related] The financial benefits of minimalism
Ready for the challenge?
1st piece of advice- Have Good Photos
It’s the very first thing people see when they look at your listing.
Think about it, when you go to a restaurant what appeals to you more?
The photos of the gorgeously stacked bananas foster French toast on the cover or the size 12 font on page 4 talking about an avocado burger?
Sure the burger may be cheaper and better tasting, but you really had to look hard to find that.
First impressions MATTER.
To get a good photo, you don’t need a fancy camera or to spend any money on picture props.
All you need is to do any of the following things.
Clean the item you are taking a picture of.
Seriously, no one wants to see tons of dust, grease, fingerprints or mystery stains.
It gives the illusion that you are a messy person, that the item might have smells or issues not disclosed or that it wasn’t well taken care of.
Which is a huge turn off to buyers and will result in them scrolling by the image without a second care in the world.
Clean the area AROUND the item.
Say that you’re selling a desk, for example.
If you leave it cluttered with papers stacked on top, a pizza box and have it sitting next to a cat litter box, what are the odds you’ll get it to sell quickly or for anything close to asking price?
Very slim to none. In fact, I’d be willing to be it is closer to the none option, even if you listed it as FREE.
So take a few minutes to clean around the item you’re selling. If it’s small enough, you can lay it on a blanket, and crop the image so its the only focus.
Avoiding glares is important, so don’t use camera flashes unless absolutely necessary.
But good lighting can make or break a picture. Lighting can change everything, so it’s important to make it as realistic as possible. No using fancy phone filter apps, or distorting a picture to make it more favorable.
You can get great lighting just by taking the picture in natural sunlight.
If that’s not available, put it in the best-lit room of your house and look for the best spots to get the best shots.
Disclose issues in pictures.
Don’t lead with the damage photos, make sure the first image to appear on your listing is the nicest whole product photo you took.
It’s dishonest to sell stuff online and not disclose issues. So make sure you point them ALL out.
Multiple photos for one listing are great.
If you have a stock photo for a disassembled product, make it the first pic, followed by a picture of the item in your possession when setting up.
Then, you can do a pic of its current condition, followed by up-close images of any issues (such as dings, scratches, paint wearing off, etc.) that the product may have.
Refer to these in the item listing as well.
Being upfront and disclosing this information through text and visual help buyers gain trust that you’re an honest seller.
It also helps buyers think of ways to accept the flaws, fix it themselves or justify the product in other means.
The 2nd piece of advice- Pricing is the hardest part of selling stuff online.
You could be dead set on wanting a specific amount of cash for the product. After all, you know what you spent on it, how much it’s worth and how hard you tried to keep it in good condition. You want to be compensated fairly.
Or you could be like me, and have no emotional ties to the product, only wanting it gone and willing to accept any amount of cash at all.
Both types of sellers are great. But…
While both types of sellers are great, buyers usually come in 1 or 2 flavors.
Rarely will they pay the asking price, no questions asked.
Most of the time, they want the cheapest out of a pocket deal they can get. So make them feel like they’re getting a good deal, without hurting your revenue.
If you simply state “make an offer,” they’ll walk away empty-handed and you will not get a sale.
This is why I do so horribly at yard sales.
Always give a price, ALWAYS.
But follow this trick to selling at the RIGHT price.
First, determine the value the product has, how good of a condition is it?
How much would you pay for it?
What is the LOWEST offer you’d accept for it?
Even if you’re willing to give it to charity or the trash bin for $0, you still need to find a price point to work with.
$5 is an easy price to sell at without buyers feeling like they’ve spent a ton of money.
$20 or more requires them to go to an ATM or withdrawal cash from somewhere and may make them reconsider their purchase.
So now you have your lowest accepted price. But don’t list the item at that!
Remember when I said that some people want a bargain?
When you sell stuff online, if you price your items at your lowest asking price, there is no wiggle room for them to haggle.
The trick is to price your items 20-30% higher than what you want to make for the product.
This way, it’s a win/win for everybody.
Win for you if they buy it at a higher price. You just made more than you wanted, with very little effort.
Win for you if you let them haggle you down to your asking price because you still got your asking price and made space by getting rid of the product.
It’s a win for them if they haggled you down, they feel accomplished and have a new product.
And they win if they bought it at asking price without haggling because they still walk away with a “new to them” product.
The 3rd piece of advice is the most important
Make yourself visible in the search results
If you’re a blogger or work with online jobs or promotions then you probably already know about the importance of SEO. Search engine optimization.
SEO is just as important in your sales listing as they are in your blogs or websites, however, it’s much simpler in sales listings. You don’t have to worry about backlinks meta descriptions or alt tags.
If you’re not a blogger and more curious about SEO, in relation to your sales listings, keep reading. I’ll make it easier to understand, I promise.
When you search for an item online, using Bing, Pinterest, Google or another search engine, you use keywords to find the subject you’re looking for.
Basically, they’re descriptive words to help the search engines determine what you’re looking for.
This really helps when you sell stuff online!
Example- Once upon a time you were on Pinterest and used a banana bread recipe only to find that you didn’t save it, but you loved it. It only used one bowl, had an option to reduce the sugar in half, turned out soft and moist. It took an hour to cook and used only 3 bananas in the recipe. You don’t remember the website but you do remember that the pin had a picture of banana bread loaf and a red towel in the background.
To search for it, you’ll use keywords
Keywords like- one bowl, banana bread, easy, 3 bananas, reduced sugar, etc. You’ll scroll through the images, looking for that specific pin and with any luck, you’ll find it.
So how does this apply to the stuff you’re trying to sell online?
I promise I didn’t just talk about banana bread because I’m hungry, it’s also to prove a point.
Keywords are important to use in your listings, and the more you can include into your listing title and description (without looking spammy) will help buyers to locate your listing.
This is essential to getting a sale. Foot traffic= increased views= increased offers and sales.
How can you find good keywords to use?
You know when you search on a search engine like Pinterest or Google, how it offers you suggestions based on what you typed?
Those are popular keywords used by other people.
So popular in fact, that the search engines determined it was important to remember and suggest to others.
Using these suggested keywords will help to boost your views significantly.
Just make sure to use the ones actually related to your product.
Example image to help with my context.
In the search bar, I looked up the product I am trying to sell.
Now see all those colored squares under the search bar? Those are all related keywords. Load up your sales listing with those bad boys and you’ll see results for sure!
So, to summarized. The three best pieces of advice to sell your stuff online are-
Price higher than you’re willing to accept
Use important keywords to increase your SEO
Good luck with your sales!
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