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Have old stuff? Sell it and start a side hustle

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Private individuals can now make a quick buck by selling unwanted items on peer-to-peer marketplaces online. You can sell almost any product on eBay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace with just a few clicks.

For the entrepreneurial-minded, an online resale business can quickly become a lucrative side business, especially if you bargain-hunt at yard sales, thrift stores or flea markets. Here are some tips and tricks to help you succeed if you’re thinking of becoming an online private reseller. Have fun selling!

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1. Honesty and thoroughness are key.

An online business needs to have a reputation of being trustworthy and honest. Even if your goal is to generate repeat business, user reviews and ratings can reflect negatively on your business in a way that could encourage or discourage future customers.

Heidi Ferguson, a vintage seller who sells on several platforms, said that buyers are interested in knowing the condition of your items. Completely fill out your shop profile. This gives customers a sense of who you are, and increases trust.

Also, describing in detail the condition of the products that you sell can help to prevent returns. This will reduce your profit margins and require more of your attention.

Ariel M. Ruggeri told Business News Daily that it is important to clearly describe the item’s condition upfront. Ruggeri has been selling eBay for six years. If you don’t adequately describe the item and the buyer wants a refund, it can be a hassle and waste of money to have them send it back and resell it.

2. Make sure to use many high-quality photographs

Multiple high-quality photos can help you protect yourself against returns and dissatisfied customers. The more photos you have, the better. It informs buyers about the condition of the product and boosts your listing in search engines.

“Use 7-10 pictures in your listings. Ferguson stated that potential buyers will be more likely to see your listings and give you more credibility. He also said that optimizing your virtual storefront for mobile devices is important. To ensure that buyers see your shop, make sure you check it from multiple devices.

Be careful not to copy a product photo from the internet. You should post high-quality photos showing the item you’re selling. Otherwise, buyers might be hesitant to buy if there are slight differences.

Gari Anne Kosanke (an online seller who owns Bead Lovers Korner across multiple platforms) said, “Take really great photos and never ever right click and steal photos from Google Images.” Good photos can make your listings stand out and give potential customers a visual to help them feel at ease when they get the merchandise.

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3. Be mindful of your profit margins

Although online selling may seem like a personal venture, it is still a business. It might be better to sell the cool item if you don’t believe you can make a significant profit. For successful sellers, the mantra is “buy low, Sell high.”

“I always ask myself one question: Can I double my money?” Ruggeri said. If you find a great product to resell but it is too expensive, don’t hesitate to walk away!

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You should also document your business to keep track of what’s coming in and out. Budgeting and tracking income is crucial for any business. This will help you to adjust your strategy.

Ruggeri stated, “Create an Excel spreadsheet with the revenue, original cost, fees, and profit for every item you sell.” This will consolidate all your data in one place, making it easy to access.

4. Advertise yourself well

Without an audience, it’s difficult to sell products. Social media can be a great way to drive traffic and customers to your store. It’s also important to follow best practices when listing on the platform (i.e. quality photos, descriptions that are complete, tags, good reputation, etc.). Cross-promoting, and even cross-selling are great ways to spread the word.

Ferguson stated, “Promote yourself on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and link all your accounts back [your selling platform] in order to drive traffic.” Engage is more important than likes.

Once you have a engaged audience, it’s time to start building. While organic search can be a great way for one-time buyers to your shop, it is also a powerful tool for generating repeat business. It can be very beneficial for sellers who are experts in a single category, like Ferguson in vintage.

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5. Before shipping, confirm payment

Although it may seem obvious, it is important to ensure payment cleared before shipping your goods. Buyers have the option to refuse payment or bounce payments. Not everyone is trustworthy. Keep your finances in check to avoid being scammed.

Ruggeri stated, “Do not ship until your money has cleared and you have been paid.” If you get a check, make sure it clears. Try to only accept cash if you are selling on Craigslist. This will make the process much simpler.

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