So in this post I will share an update, and talk about the second-hand economy.
Firstly, I want to share an update: I am going to be featured in Canadian Budget Binder‘s Making a Difference series as part of their Saturday Weekend Review, on July 22! This will share a little bit about who I am and what I blog about. I am very excited to be featured and I look forward to sharing my message with some new readers!
Having gotten that exciting news out of the way, let’s talk second-hand economy. Ever since I listened to Kerry Taylor share about how to benefit from the second-hand economy on the Mo’ Money Podcast, I have been starting to test out these waters. About a month ago I joined a couple “buy and sell” groups on Facebook, as well as some “Buy nothing” groups, where people apparently give things away for free, and this morning I posted several items to sell. I live in a fairly large city, so these groups are organized by neighborhood, and require your address to ensure that you are located in the same area as other members. As I move forward with all of this, I am also going to start trying out the second-hand and vintage boutique shops in town, but I haven’t made it quite that far yet. I have tried my hand at sites like Craigslist, Kijiji, and eBay in the past with varying levels of success. I have actually been fairly successful in the past at selling my second-hand items on eBay, and I think this success has to do with a couple things…
- It is necessary to know what will sell on a site like eBay, and what will not. Items that retain much of their resale value, and that are small and easily shipped tend to do well.
- For example, I have done really well reselling things like designer swimsuits on eBay. When I lived in Hawaii, and when I moved back to Canada, I did really well selling my brand name suits like Acacia Swimwear, Tori Praver Swimwear, Volcom, Billabong, and Posh Pua Swimwear. I understood the market on these items, and knew what would sell, what would not, and how they were priced across selling platforms and in stores.
- Understand which platform you should use to sell your item.
- It is possible (and likely) that someone else knows way more about this than I, but what I have learned so far is that certain items are more likely to sell in different forums, and different forums are priced differently. Like I said above, I have had success on eBay selling small, easily shipped items that retained much of their retail value. However, I have had more success selling things like shoes, furniture, and cellphones on Craigslist / Kijiji, because I can meet the buyers in person, and shipping these items can be more costly or difficult. Generally, I would say that platforms vary in how items are priced: eBay seems to be on the more expensive end for second-hand clothing, while Craigslist and Kijiji are a bit cheaper, and the Facebook buy-and-sell groups are the cheapest I have seen so far.
- Look at how the majority of the other sellers on eBay / Craigslist / Kijiji are pricing items like yours, and then undercut them slightly.
- I think one of the main ways to succeed on buy & sell platforms is to be realistic about your pricing. It’s important to remember that this item is, after all, second-hand. Don’t get too hung up on what you paid for it, because in most cases, that is irrelevant now. The important value to look at is what items like yours are being sold successfully for on the sales platform you are using. Any time I want to sell something online, I do a couple quick searches for items like mine, and mentally note the prices being asked. I will notice the price these items are most frequently being listed at, and then undercut them slightly, by 10$ or 20$ for example. The amount I undercut them will depend on the price of the item. For example, if I am selling a 300$ cellphone, I may undercut by 20-30$, whereas if I am selling a 20$ pair of shoes, I may undercut by 5$, or even stay on par, depending on the competition. Which brings my to my next point…
- Consider the competition in your pricing.
- When you search for items like the one you are selling, ask yourself this: Is there a lot of competition, or very little, and why? If there are a lot of similar items available online, your best bet is to undercut their prices, because this is likely to give the sale to you over another seller. If there is limited competition, ask yourself why that is. Is this item hard to come by? It is valued? Are people generally interested in buying this item? Your answers to all of these questions should be factored into your price.
- Cash only, In-Person Only
- This point is especially relevant with electronics, or other high priced & easily shipped items. With items like cell phones and other things that are highly marketable, you will likely receive emails from some people who are trying to scam you. These emails will generally sound something like this: “Hey, I am really interested in this item, but I’m out of town this weekend, can I send you the money? / Can I deposit the money into your account? / Can you send me the item?” If you hear any variations of this story, stop what you’re doing, and run! Haha okay, you don’t have to run, but do ignore that person from that point forward, and definitely don’t engage with them any further. If someone does not want to meet you in person or pay cash for your item, it’s about 90% likely that they are trying to rip you off. Just walk away. I explicitly post in the description of every single item I list: CASH ONLY. IN PERSON ONLY. You will still get people who try, but just ignore them, and move on.
- Be safe.
- Especially as a woman, I think this point is highly important. I always meet people in crowded public places in the middle of the day. I also tend to list a name like “Dave” or “George” as my seller contact detail, so that I sound a bit more imposing. Any time someone pulls up to buy something from me, I take a picture of their license plate, and immediately send it to a couple friends, telling them exactly where I am, and what is going on. If I can, I try to take someone else with me for the sale. Be smart out there, and stay safe.
*Update to this post: I actually sold 2 of the 3 pairs of shoes I said I listed this morning before I even posted this! Success! 🙂
Hopefully these tips I have learned help you out in your adventures in the second-hand economy, and I look forward to providing more as I learn them.
As always, thank you for reading.