Need to make a quick $1,000? This guide on how to sell your stuff online has you covered.
A few months ago, I sold a rowing machine for $700 and used the money to help pay for a trip to Italy. Not only did I get the extra cash, I freed up space in my office which now feels a lot better whenever I’m in there.
Selling something online wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be either.
If you sell your items in the right place, you’ll have cash within a few days. I’ve listed the best ones below.
How to Sell Stuff Online at a Glance:
- 7 Steps to Selling Online
- Tips and Tricks for Online Selling
- 8 Websites and Apps to Sell Stuff Online
7 Easy Steps to Sell Stuff Online
1. Find items to sell
Go around your house and look for anything that you don’t want anymore. If it’s in good condition and you think it has value, add it to your list.
Collectibles, exercise equipment, furniture, electronics that aren’t too old yet, and luxury items are a good place to start.
2. Check if there’s a market
Now it’s time to make sure there are buyers for the items you selected. Check Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, and Craiglists for your items. If you see plenty of them, that’s a good sign.
To really make sure, make a note of all the listings you see on Ebay or Craigslist. Then come back a few days later and see if the listings are still active. Great items sell quickly and listings get closed. You won’t have any trouble selling those items and can probably push your asking price a bit.
3. Decide where you want to sell
We cover the different platforms for selling online later in this article (here). You need to think about reliability, relevance, customer experience, and costs when you chose which platform to sell your stuff on. You also need to think about the type of item you’re selling, for example handmade items will likely do better on Etsy than Craigslist. Go ahead and pick the platforms that you want to add your product to.
4. Build Your Item Profile
On each platform, you’ll need to create accounts and build out your product listing. Get the best photos that you can and write a really compelling description. This has a huge impact on how many buyers reach out to you.
Once you’re ready, hit publish and launch your item.
Be sure to double check the public page and make sure everything appears correctly. That way you can fix any mistakes quickly.
6. Follow up to Inquiries
For hot items, you’ll start getting inquiries within a few hours. And the bulk of people will reach out in 24-48 hours. Make sure to respond to them as quickly as possible and close a deal.
If you’re on a platform that does the selling for you (like Amazon), there’s nothing else you need to do. Simply sit back and wait.
7. Close the Deal
Once you have agreed on price, lay out your requirements for the sale. This could include meeting location, payment method, shipping terms, etc. Assuming the buyer agrees to the terms, keep following up until everything has been completed.
If the deal falls apart at this stage, move on to other folks that reached out. It’s best to keep them in a holding pattern until you’ve completed the transaction. Don’t tell anyone that it’s been sold until the deal is 100% done. That will give you plenty of backup options in case it doesn’t go through.
Tips and Tricks to Selling Your Stuff Online
Here are five simple tricks to take your online selling game to the next level:
1. Focus on The Product Page
When people see your stuff on an online store, getting them to click on your listing is your first goal.
Having a professional-looking image and a good title is crucial. Your product description must shine, and your price must be right. I always look at other listings selling similar items. Then I try to beat everyone else by having a better photo, product description, and a competitive price.
2. Research Market Pricing
Every item has a price band that the market expects. Phone apps are $1-5, Concept 2 rowing machines are $700-900, lamps are $20-1000 depending on the design. Look at a bunch of listings for the type of item that you plan to sell. That will tell you how much you can expect to make.
Remember, we all have an internal bias to over-value what we own. We think it’s more valuable than it is. So go in expecting that you’re going to make less than you think. It takes time to develop an accurate gauge of the market on any item.
3. Use Speed
As soon as you get a response from someone, try to respond instantly. People almost always get less interested in a deal over time. Take advantage of their motivation by responding quickly and getting the deal done as quickly as possible.
4. Stick to Your Price
You will likely get a few folks that try to negotiate hard. They’ll try to pressure you into a much lower price. They’re looking for a great deal themselves. If you’ve done your research and know the pricing bands for your item, hold to your price. Only lower it if you don’t get any legitimate interest.
5. Protect Yourself
Scams do happen when selling stuff online. If selling locally, demand cash. And if someone mails you a check or money order for a larger amount that requested, it’s definitely a scam. Return the check and refuse to mail your item until you get the correct amount.
8 Websites and Apps to Sell Stuff Online
You need to look at reliability, relevance, customer experience, and costs while deciding where to sell your stuff. Here are some of the best places where you can start selling:
You don’t want to ignore the biggest online shopping website in the world. Amazon accounts for almost half of all retail sales online. For an extra fee, the folks at Amazon will also take care of delivery and customer care for you.
I love Amazon’s advertising platform. It is a world of its own and it’s the single best way to get in front of a ton of buyers.
Check out this detailed guide to making money on Amazon for more information on how to make this powerhouse platform work for you.
Fees: Amazon will charge you $0.99 for every item sold in addition to a referral fee that varies between 8% to 20% of the price of the item.
Best for: Almost everything.
eBay is a marketplace where you can auction your stuff. I find eBay great because of the sheer diversity of things you can sell on it. It’s perfect for obscure items that don’t tend to sell anywhere else.
Pro Tip: Do you have old action figures, Hotwheels cars, mugs…or literally ANYTHING that has an emotional value? If not, go to a garage sale, buy some of this stuff for a few dollars, and then list it for a higher price on eBay. I know people who have “flipped” items this way and made thousands of dollars. eBay is made for side hustles like these apart from selling sophisticated items.
Fees: You pay eBay 10% of the item’s price (including shipping but not taxes). If you list more than 50 items, you have to pay a listing fee of $0.30 per listing. The fee is refunded if you sell the item.
Best for: Almost all kinds of new, old, and used items.
Etsy is the place to be if you sell handmade items. I used to think that Etsy was just arts and crafts type stuff. Then I started searching and found several great items that I purchased for my own office.
If you plan to make items regularly and want a reliable source of customers, go to Etsy.
Fees: Etsy will charge you $0.20 for listing an item for four months. It also takes 5% of the item’s price as a fee when you make a sale. In addition to this, Etsy’s payment platform also charges you a 3% + $0.25 fee for every transaction.
Best for: Handmade items and home decor.
Bonanza is newer compared to eBay and Amazon and works similarly. Sometimes, I prefer Bonanza because it has a more loyal and a completely different audience than the bigger shopping destinations.
Fees: Bonanza charges you 3.5% of your product price plus the shipping price above $10. I also love how Bonanza has an option where it handles the advertising of your product for a higher fee.
Best for: Almost everything, but Bonanza says it specializes in unique and one-off items.
Where there are people, there is shopping. To sell something locally, I’d start here. Most neighborhoods have a Facebook group. A quick post could sell your item within hours. Just make sure that the group allows it, some groups ban all promotional posts. Also expect folks to haggle. I always get the most pushback on price whenever I sell on Facebook.
Fees: Only your blood, sweat, and tears. But technically FREE! But keep in mind that you have to do everything from getting in touch with buyers, packing, delivering, and getting paid.
Best for: Think big and wide. I have seen people sell everything from cars to plants on Facebook.
You may not have heard of this Japanese website. It has 126 million users, and 90% of internet users in Japan use it. I believe this is a wonderful place to sell your stuff if you want to break into the Japanese market.
Fees: Rakuten is a bit expensive. You have to pay a monthly fee of $33 as a seller and a flat fee of $0.99 for every sale. In addition to it, you are also charged between 8% and 15% based on what you are selling.
Best for: Almost everything. Perfect for people who are sick of the competition on US websites.
Your Own Website
Selling on your website means you are in complete control, but you are also fully responsible for everything. Not only do you need to do all the marketing to bring people to your online store, you also have to get your store built. Here’s a handy guide on the best ecommerce tools.
If you want to go big and build a large business around selling your stuff, this is the way to go.
Cost: You need to design a website, set up a cart, payment gateway, and get the necessary security certificates. Plus packaging and delivery.
Technically, Patreon is not a marketplace or an eCommerce website. It’s a platform where your most loyal fans pay you an amount of their choice either monthly or as a one-time payment. In exchange, you give them exclusive content and access. If you’re selling creative content like comics, art, or videos, it’s a great option.
Best for: Selling content to your loyal fans.
Honorable Mentions: Craiglist and LetGo (both are great for local listings), eBid (similar to eBay and Amazon), Newegg (for tech), eCrater (a 100% free marketplace), and RubyLane (superb for art, jewelry, collectibles, and vintage items).