10 Steps to a Profitable Online Sale

by Alex J. Coyne
Steps to Profitable Online Sale photo

Selling your unused stuff is a great way to make extra cash while getting rid of clutter. If you sell your stuff online, take these steps to increase your chances of a profitable sale.

Haven’t used the old console in a few months? Or a lot of the other things taking up space in your house?

Selling your unused stuff online is a great way to make extra cash. These steps to a profitable online sale can help ensure you get the best deal for your stuff:

1. Writing the Right Ad

Advertising is an art. Write an ad that makes someone want to buy whatever it is you’re selling. Convince them it’s the greatest thing they’ve ever seen.

Describe your item in detail. Be honest about its advantages, flaws, and condition. Does the pool table have a nick on the side from that night Dave lost?

2. Photographing Your Item

You don’t have to be a professional photographer. Take several good quality pictures of what you’re selling. Most cell phones can now take high-quality pictures.

Include close-up shots and take snaps from several angles, including close-ups of any damage you’re disclosing. Most online selling sites allow you to post 10 to 20 photos. Check that you have clear lighting (sunlight will do) and make sure you’re not reflecting in the picture. People want to see what they’re buying.

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3. Setting a Price

Decide how much you want to put the item up for and leave a little room for the buyer to negotiate.

Do some research. What’s the going rate of your item secondhand on other sites? If you can’t track it down, take a third to half off the going retail price, depending on its condition. If it’s a specialty item like a vintage guitar, get it valuated by a professional.

4. Making a Better Deal

People like deals. Include something extra (like a laptop bag with a laptop or some strings and books with a guitar). It can sweeten the deal for both of you, and adding something extra can mean getting more cash out of it.

5. Negotiating

Always leave some room for negotiation. Many platforms now have an “offer” option that allow buyers to negotiate a lower price. How much you’re willing to budge is up to you.

6. Using Common Sense

Sites like eBay and PayPal offer some forms of buyer protection, but it won’t override common sense. Don’t mail or hand an item over until you have payment. It is best to use the payment options provided by the platforms on which you sell, even if it means paying a fee so you are covered by any available protections to help avoid scams.

7. Staying Safe

Basic safety rules apply. Don’t share your address or personal details. If you’re meeting someone in person, get together in a public place and tell someone where you’re going (or take someone with you).

 8. Finding the Best Places To Sell

There are many selling platforms to choose from.  Do some research to find one which are best for what you’re selling.

If you’re trying to sell designer clothing, you may have more success on a site like Poshmark than eBay. If you’re selling furniture locally, Facebook Marketplace might be better than Craigslist.

9. Adjusting When It Doesn’t Sell

Sometimes an ad sits for months. Here could be why:

  • Sometimes the market for what you’re selling is down. Try selling a vintage guitar to a blues player in a recession.
  • The price could be too high or too low. Adjust.
  • Try posting your ad on a different site or two.

10. Sold!

If the selling platform you use doesn’t automatically mark an item as sold, make sure you do so manually once you’re done. It will save you unnecessary emails and text messages.

Reviewed March 2024

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