Monday, November 22, 2010

eBay vs craigslist vs kijiji vs Amazon - Where should I sell my stuff?

I pick up a lot of things at thrift stores. My house overflows with vintage goods, waiting to be sold. Usually I try to turn them around as quickly as possible. Less inventory, less money invested!

When I'm trying to get rid of my stuff, I need to decide what's the best method and where to list my goods online. Here are four places to sell and the benefits of each.

1. eBay

The most common and best known auction website. Take a few pictures. Post it online and wait for the bidders. Many sites will give you great tips on how to make your items stand out, how to time your auctions, whether to start with a low starting bid, or use a "buy it now" listing. I will get to some of these tips in another post.

eBay will generally get you the best price for your item. You have the biggest market (the whole world) and you can get people to fight over your items! How can that not be optimal?

Well, there are a few downsides to the process.

Make sure you take into account the fees you'll be paying eBay for listing and selling. As well, Paypal will take a chunk of the transaction.

Then you have to ship it. Get those boxes, tape, label etc. The work and costs add up.

After fees and shipping, you may not be making as much as you thought you would. But for high value items, nothing beats eBay.

2. kijiji

kijiji is an eBay-owned company that allows you to post for free. We're talking about an old-school newspaper classified ad, online. With kijiji, you post your pictures and description and wait for people to contact you.

Just like a classified ad, the risk is all on the buyer and seller, with no feedback ratings like on eBay. No resolution for unpaid items. That's why kijiji is useful exclusively for local, face to face dealings. There's no cost, and no fees, but your market has shrunk to your local area.

3. craigslist

Like kijiji, craigslist is an online classified ad site. Limited to your local area, craigslist and kijiji work best when you live in a large metropolitan area. When your local market is bigger, the buyer pool is also larger. 

craigslist is the lazy man's way to sell items. you just post and wait. craigslist also has extremely lazy buyers. Unfortunately, it's common for buyers to set up meeting times, not show up and never contact you again. Frustrating, but if you can put up with the unreliablility of buyers, there is almost no effort involved in selling on craigslist. 

In my personal experience, I have gotten a larger response selling things on craiglist than kijiji, but your experience may differ depending on your geographic location. And of course, these sites are best for large items. You don't need to worry about shipping them.

4. Amazon

Amazon isn't just for books! You can sell more and more things on Amazon. When you look up something on Amazon, you see the price, new and used. Used is where the seller comes in. Amazon doesn't sell these things used, you do! When you click on the used price, you get directed to a list of sellers that have this item for sale. 

Like eBay, a feedback system exists to protect the buyer. Unlike eBay, you have to set the price. No bidding! One good thing about Amazon is your item can sit active for months. No 5 day listings! But the fees are higher and the shipping price is set by Amazon, so you may lose money depending on where your buyer is located. 

You have many options for selling your thrifted goods. Just try each one and see what works best for you. The effectiveness of different paths are dependent on what you're selling and where you're located.

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