In one of my previous articles, I mentioned that selling your stuff online is one of the fastest ways to make some extra money. Here, I will elaborate on a few ways to get the most out of that. The hardest part of this is probably learning how everything works. After that, it's very simple.
- First make a seller account on eBay, Amazon, and/or Craigslist.
Amazon is best for beginners. The layout makes it very easy to list items, and keep track of your listings. And you only pay a listing fee if the item sells. However, you have to be very careful to keep your ratings up, and if it falls too low, your account can get suspended.
With eBay, you have the option to auction items. Your listing is free if you only put up one picture, and list it auction-style for seven days. Otherwise, you have to pay regardless of whether or not your item sells.
Craigslist is good selling to local customers, so that neither of you has to worry about shipping costs.
- Find items around the house to sell.
Look up the price online, and see if it's worth selling. I usually don't sell anything worth less than five dollars, because that barely covers the shipping costs.
- List the item
In the beginning, always list items for $3-$4 less than the lowest offer in the web site. When you become a top-rated seller (and thus, more trusted) you can charge more.
Always give free shipping- take the money for shipping out of the money you get for selling the product. This way, the total amount you make stays the same, but your listing looks more attractive.
You'll need a picture of your item to post with the listing. No camera? No problem. You can look up your item on Google images and use that.
In the description section, highlight all of the positive features of your item, and list everything it comes with, even if it's obvious. For example, if you're selling an iPod, emphasize how it comes with free headphones and a charger. Of course, that also means that if there are any flaws on the item, you need to mention that as well, or else you will not get good ratings. But just don't put too much emphasis on that part.
- The best timing to sell an item to maximize profits
Timing is important, and determines the demand for a particular kind of item, which in turn, affects the price. For example, during "Textbook season" (that's what us book sellers call it) college textbooks are in most demand. This starts about two weeks before the beginning of a semester and goes about a week and a half into the semester. Because of all of the students buying textbooks, you can charge more for your textbook and still expect it to be sold. Therefore, most book sellers wait until textbook season to sell their books.
Another popular season is the Holiday Season. This is when people do holiday shopping, and the best time to sell items that can be sold as gifts.
In short, if you want to maximize the profits from selling a particular item, one of the things you want to think about is when the item is in the most demand.
- Saving money on packaging
When you're selling stuff online, you're essentially doing a small e-commerce business. And in business, profit=revenue-cost.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is, the less you spend, the more you make.
A common mistake the most beginners make is, they go to the post office and let them package the item for them for $5-$15 extra, when they could have packaged it themselves at home for free, almost. All you need is a big roll of bubble wrap, packaging paper, and tape. You'll save lots of money this way.
Another way to save both time and money on packaging, is to save the packaging whenever you order something online. You can then use that to package items for your customers.
- Keeping your ratings up
In time, your ratings will determine whether or not people want to buy from you, and how much you are able to charge for your items. Be honest in describing your item, respond to your customer's questions as soon as possible, and speak courteously while doing so. Wish them a nice day at the end of each email, and encourage them to contact you if they have any more questions. Ships the items on time, and update the tracking number as soon as you do so.
You can even get a little creative. With every item that I send, I include a small letter thanking the customer for his/her business, encouraging them to contact me if there are any problems, and asking them to take the time to rate their buying experience. I end the letter by wishing them a good day, or if there is a holiday coming up, I use that to my advantage ("Merry Christmas!")
The great thing about selling your stuff online, is that you are making money off of things that were otherwise useless to you, while at the same time, freeing up space in your house. However, unless you want to become a full-time online business man, remember that this is just one way of making money. When you run out of things to sell, do not get discouraged. Continue to look for the many other options that are out there.