Is there really anything better than making a bit of money without actually doing anything? The answer is no, and now thanks to Gumtree you can kill two birds with one stone by getting rid of your old, unwanted things AND make money by selling stuff online.
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But what is the best way to get people to actually find and buy your vintage treasures? The Head of Marketing for Gumtree SA says the key to successfully selling stuff online is “finding a buyer who has the same emotional attachment to the item as you do”. And how do we do that? Let’s find out!
Here’s how to make money selling stuff online
What is your stuff’s value?
When selling stuff online, it’s helpful to find out how much it would cost you to replace an item you want to get rid of. Knowing how much it would cost if it were brand new will help you determine what price to slap on it. You wouldn’t pay thousands for a second-hand smoothie maker so it’s unlikely that anyone else will. Rein it in.
Another way to see what people are willing to pay for what you’re selling is to search for similar items for sale online. If everyone is selling their second-hand cot for R500 and yours is R2000, it’s never going to sell. Remember to compare apples with apples though – the items you are comparing should be of a similar age and condition to whatever you’re trying to sell.
Is your stuff rare?
First consider how common or uncommon the item in your possession is. People ain’t going to cough up money for your kid’s old, salvia-ridden Sophie the Giraffe toy, but they’re likely to spend a pretty penny on the one-of-a-kind Harrods’s cardigan that you bought in London (but that they never actually wore). If you want to make a quick buck, sell your unique things.
Remember to also keep in mind that a particular item might be common, but a complete set in a particular format might be very rare. If you have a partial set, it’s often worth hunting down the missing items and then selling the whole set online. This might take a bit longer, but you’ll get way more selling stuff online this way.
What condition is your stuff in?
The older the item, the more wear and tear it would’ve endured over time, meaning that you have to price it with this in mind. Obviously the better the condition, the higher the value, so make sure the pictures you post show the condition clearly. You might think it would be easier to sell stuff online by only highlighting an item’s selling points, but it’s important to be honest about anything that might be wrong. This will help you avoid awkward situations, like a buyer refusing to pay for a ‘mint condition’ dishwasher — with a hole in the door.
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Are you selling stuff people want to buy?
Don’t mess around trying to sell stuff no one wants to buy! An easy way to see what people are looking to buy online is to visit the Top Searches section on the Gumtree website. The page shows you what people are searching for, and thus, what they’re most likely to buy. You can even filter the terms by province, to see what the people closest to you are looking for. The search terms can really help you decide which stuff is worth selling online, and which stuff you should just give to charity.
How authentic is your stuff?
Historic South African coins, Coca-Cola memorabilia, and pinball machines are just some of the vintage items currently trading on Gumtree. The more documentation you can get your hands on to prove authenticity, the better your chance of getting a good price for your old things. If you can’t trace any evidence, then get the items professionally appraised and include that information when posting it online. It might seem like a pain, but it’s a very effective way to make the most money off your online sale.
What can you show and tell about your stuff?
No one wants to buy something without seeing it first. And no one wants to have to ask you a million questions to determine if the thing you are selling is in fact a thing they want to buy. When selling stuff online, POST PHOTOS OF YOUR STUFF! And that doesn’t mean blurry pictures with your nephew in the background either. Take some time to take flattering photos of your things and they’ll be much, much more likely to sell.
The same goes for informing potential buyers about what they are going to be buying. If it’s a cupboard, include dimensions. If it’s a stand mixer, include the motor’s wattage. If it’s a box of Lego, include the set number. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and ask, ‘What would I want to know if I were buying this?’ Some people might email you to ask questions, but most will just move on to buying someone else’s stuff — someone who has included the info they want to see!
Stay secure while selling stuff online!
There are always risks with online transactions, especially with items that are worth a bucket load of money. Lucky for us, Gumtree.co.za has implemented a secure escrow service called Shepherd that allows for easy, high-value transactions in a way that reduces the risk of fraud and scams. Basically, Shepherd acts as a neutral third party, keeping money paid by a buyer until the buyer is happy with the stuff they’ve bought. It protects buyers and sellers, which is great news.