Is Ebay the Best Place to Sell Your Stuff?

No doubt about it – Ebay has become synonymous with not only finding great deals, but also for selling your stuff in a relatively easy manner.  It’s not the only place though, and it may not be the best for sellers depending on what you’re selling.

I’ve sold items on Craigslist, Ebay and Amazon.  Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and once you use them you’ll find that one is better for selling a particular item at a good price than another.

Craigslist, for example, is great if you’re selling stuff that you don’t want to ship.  For example, I sold a number of baby items that would be very impractical to ship (a high chair, an exersaucer, etc.).  These also weren’t that valuable, so the cost of shipping would have been more than the price of the item.  But there were plenty of people locally who wanted them and were willing to pick them up.  Craigslist listings are good for a month and can easily be renewed after they expire, so if an item doesn’t sell it’s not a big deal.  Think of Craigslist as your yard sale space.  Oh – and it’s free to list and sell items.  Can’t beat that!  You may have to deal with a few extra hassles around scheduling pick-up or delivery of a Craigslist sale, but it can be well worth it to sell an otherwise unsellable item.

Amazon.com is one of the largest sales sites on the Internet, and you can take advantage of this by selling your items on their site.  You can’t sell just anything though – whatever you’re selling should already be listed in Amazon’s catalog in order to get good hits.  But if you’re selling things like books, cd’s, old video games, or other common Amazon-listed items you are good to go.  When you list an item in Amazon, you pay nothing until it sells.  At that point Amazon takes a commission.  But Amazon beats Ebay in that it gives you a shipping allowance credited to your account to help cover shipping, starting at $3.99 for regularly-shipped items.  If you’re selling something and shipping it media mail, the shipping allowance more than makes up for the postage in most cases.  Be savvy though: when you list items make sure there aren’t a ton of other people selling that same thing for less than what you want.  You can do that easily enough when you make your listing.  Also be aware that the sale isn’t done until you indicate on your seller page that the item has shipped.  Another benefit of Amazon is that listings are active for months.  Amazon’s customer service is also remarkably good.  When I had a problem with a buyer, Amazon intervened within 48 hours of my request and rectified the problem immediately.

If you have a unique or rare item, Ebay is still one of the best places to go to to sell.  While often considered just as an auction site, Ebay offers many different ways to sell your goods.  List your item as an auction, as a no-reserve auction, or as a regular sale through the “buy it now” feature.  If you are willing to try and sell your item by auction, it’s also your only bet among the three considered here.  You have a lot more freedom in terms of how your sale works, looks and is marketed on Ebay as well.  You can jazz up your sales page as much as you like, add as many photos as you want, and easily link to other items you’re selling.  These extras will cost you though, and it can easily add up.  When you include the cut that Ebay takes for commission, you may not have much left after the sale.  Therefore, items that you may not be able to make more than $3 or $4 are probably best left to the yard sale, or try one of the other options above.  Ebay also lets you set the shipping price of your item on your own, which can work toward your benefit at times to help cover a low sales price.  One negative of Ebay is that listings typically don’t last more than 7-10 days, although some do last longer.  So you’ll really need to advertise your item well to get the best price.

Which site to sell on will depend on a number of factors.  The rarity or uniqueness of the item you want to sell, the cost of shipping your item, and your overall sales strategy (hands-off or hands-on) are all important things to consider.  If you use these sites and their audiences in your favor, you can make your online sales soar.

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Posted on January 27, 2010, in How To, Site Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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