sell stuff online

In 2015, had 304 million customer accounts. At the end of 2016, Ebay had 167 million active accounts. Both of these online marketplace giants are continuing to grow, which means one thing.

There’s never been a better time to sell stuff online.

Whether you’re looking to unload your original iPhone, or you want to clean out old stuff to make room for new stuff or to go Zen, selling stuff online can be a great way to give new life to your old belongings while making money.

You might even get so hooked on selling stuff online that you decide to do more than the occasional home-clean-up sale; maybe you’ll start a new business selling products people love!

Whatever your reason, and wherever you’re headed with selling online, there are five things you need to do in order to make money:

  1. Use great pictures.

  2. Provide a detailed description.

  3. Research the competition.

  4. Set the right price.

  5. Offer stellar service.

If you’re not sure how to do all of this, don’t worry. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you make money selling your stuff online.

Keep reading to start earning.


Snap your best shots

A picture is worth a thousand words, so make sure you take the right ones.

Shoppers make instant judgments, often by the way an image looks, on whether they will even click on the listing to read the description, so your pictures need to grab their attention while presenting your product in the best way possible.

Clear photos that show your stuff in an honest light are necessary for successful sales and high seller ratings.

While you want your stuff to look good in the photo, keeping it honest is just as important. Your photos will be your first chance to establish trust between you and shoppers.

Once they click on your listing, the next most important thing is the description.


Write a detailed description.

Potential sellers want to know about your stuff, so give them what they want. Tell them all about your product, including the following if they apply:

  • Technical specifications

  • Size

  • Color

  • Year manufactured

  • Current condition

  • Accessories that come with your product

Even if you think some of the information is obvious in a photo, write it out anyway. That said, you don’t want to write a novel, either.

Think about what made you want to buy your stuff, to begin with, and make sure anyone visiting your listing knows what’s great about your product.

In addition to providing all the necessary details and facts, make sure that your description is, above all else, honest.

Not only will your honesty earn you major brownie points with buyers, but it can help keep complaints at bay.


Do your research before you sell stuff online.

Once you’ve taken your photos and written your description, the next step is to figure out how to get your stuff in front of the people who want it.

Finding the right category is crucial. Do some research before you sell to determine where searchers will be most likely to find your stuff.

Pretend that you’re shopping for the item you plan to sell and search for terms that relate to it. See what other products from other sellers come up in the results.

Choose the deepest category you can. For example, if you’re selling a Windows laptop, you don’t want to just list it under “Computers.” That’s too broad.

Narrow it down to laptops, or if possible, PC laptops. Sometimes you can even select manufacturer categories.

Be as specific as you can.


How low can you go?

Determining how much you’ll ask when you sell stuff online can be the most difficult task, but doing it right is important.

The first step is to keep emotion out of it. If you’ve worked hard to create something, or you’re selling stuff that has sentimental value, that value doesn’t necessarily exist for buyers.

As you do your research for categories, look at prices. You can usually sort from low to high, and then undercut competitors’ prices to move your product.

A good tip is to set the price at least one cent lower than your competition.

Have you ever met someone who would drive around for miles to find the gas station with the cheapest gas, even if the difference is only one cent?

People will often choose one product over another comparable product just to save a cent. Every penny counts.


Mind your Ps & Qs

The final step comes with a sale. Customers love to feel like they’re important, and that’s because they are. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to sell stuff online.

Offering great customer service can earn you higher seller ratings, which can, in turn, draw more customers. 

Higher ratings mean you’re a more trustworthy seller, and that can influence whether future buyers will choose to buy from you.

If you were looking to buy a book, and there were two sellers offering the same book in the same condition, but one of them had a rating of one out of five stars and the other had a rating of four out of five stars, who would you buy from?

Probably the seller with four stars.

So how do you make your customers feel special?

One way is to include a handwritten note to say thank you, along with any information your buyers need for customer service. Doing this can go a long way toward pleasing your customers.

High ratings aren’t the only benefit of good service. You might even get a repeat customer or positive word of mouth.


Bonus! List with the right marketplaces.

If you want to sell stuff online to make money, you need to understand and list with the right (and sometimes multiple) marketplaces

This will put your product in front of a wider audience, which can increase your chances of success.

One final tip to make money selling online is to continue learning. If you have more questions about best ways to make money or you want to see how other people have found success, learn more about selling stuff online.