Online sales have come a long way since eBay sold its first item — a broken laser pointer — in 1995. Back then, the company was known as AuctionWeb, and it quickly became a popular place to scout out collectible items such as rare Beanie Babies. Today, there is no limit to the things to sell on eBay, which hosts 1.5 billion listings in its marketplace.
It’s not the only place to sell online, either. Craigslist offers free online classified ads in cities worldwide, and as one of the newest online sales platforms, Facebook Marketplace allows users of the popular social media site to buy and sell locally.
“It’s cool to buy secondhand now,” says Bob Moulton, CEO of National Pawn, which operates 20 locations in North Carolina. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Moulton closed his businesses to walk-in sales and began listing items online instead. Even though storefronts are open again, Moulton says his business continues to post items online because it has been such a successful method of reaching new customers.
Online selling can be lucrative for both businesses and individuals alike. To learn more about how to make a profit, keep reading for tips from expert sellers as well as some of the best-selling items on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and eBay.
Tips for Selling Online
Rose Winquest, a Grand Rapids, Michigan, resident, sells on Facebook Marketplace full time. She buys discounted products for resale and has friends who give her castaway items. She says Facebook Marketplace is her favorite sales site because it makes it easy to sell products that appeal to diverse interests. “I love connecting with people of all kinds of backgrounds,” Winquest explains.
Here are a few tips from seasoned sellers like Winquest:
— Price items right. To make sales quickly, Winquest recommends people price items at or less than half the going rate in the store. If your price is firm, be sure to mention that in the listing.
— Include plenty of pictures and keywords. For instance, rather than describing an item as a table, be more descriptive and add the type of wood or use a more specific term such as coffee table.
— List items separately. It’s best to only bundle items that are likely to sell in a group such as a set of clothing or related toys.
— Weed out window shoppers. Maria Chichester from Lowell, Michigan, has been selling on Craigslist for 10 years and, more recently, on Facebook Marketplace. Once someone expresses an interest, she tries to answer questions and make payment arrangements via email instead of in person. This avoids wasting time on “tire kickers” who are not serious buyers.
— Don’t hold items. Using a first-come, first-serve method of selling is also preferable. “Holding items for people is risky as there are a lot of people who back out if given the time,” Winquest says.
— Ask for a deposit. If you are going to hold an item, ask for a deposit via a payment service such as Venmo to ensure the buyer is serious.
— Complete transactions in public. For safety’s sake, complete sales in a public place such as a police station, church or gas station, whenever possible.
13 Items to Sell on eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace
Craigslist is designed for local sales while items sold on Facebook Marketplace and eBay can also be shipped to buyers.
“Last year, as people were staying home and shopping for necessities that were in-demand, they also began to find new ways to spend their time,” says Charis Marquez, vice president of fashion for eBay. “We found our community turning back to their hobbies and aligning their passions with their investments.”
Today, spending remains strong in a variety of categories, and the following are among the best things to sell on eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
— Home goods.
— Pet supplies.
— Baby items.
— Yard and specialty tools.
— Outdoor recreation items.
— Video games.
As people shifted to remote work at the start of the pandemic, laptops were a hot commodity, with National Pawn quickly selling out its inventory. Even now, they continue to sell briskly. “As soon as we get them, we sell them,” Moulton says.
Before selling any laptop or electronic device, be sure to delete any personal or sensitive material.
Televisions are another item that Moulton says have been strong sellers for National Pawn. They have sold quickly online, and his business is now on the hunt for more items to meet customer demand. “We are paying big money for stuff we can sell quickly,” he says.
Home goods, such as small appliances, have also proven popular with online buyers in recent months. Pandemic hobbies, such as baking, have meant the market is good for bread machines and similar products.
While you can sell name-brand clothing and accessories on niche specialty websites, sales of these items on eBay are strong, according to Marquez. “Younger shoppers (are) investing like never before in sneakers, watches (and) handbags,” she says. “The sales growth in these categories is evidence of the booming interest.”
Pet care products have been popular among Winquest’s buyers. “I find that people love their pets and are willing to spend a great deal of money on them,” she says.
Since kids grow quickly, people are often looking for a deal on baby gear, according to Chichester. “Larger baby items such as cribs, strollers and toys that still have a lot of life sell quickly as people do not want to pay full price for these items,” she explains.
Yard and Specialty Tools
As people spend more time at home, there has been renewed attention on home maintenance. Moulton notes unusual or specialty tools seem to sell especially well online.
Outdoor Recreation Items
Some people have started spending more time outside since the start of the pandemic, and Chichester says items such as kayaks and Power Wheels vehicles for kids tend to be in demand.
Those looking for entertainment inside are snatching up video games and video game systems. These have been another hot online seller, according to Moulton.
” Furniture is great to sell,” Winquest says. Although some people may be buying to refresh their décor, others are looking for older pieces that can be refurbished and resold.
Moulton was surprised to see how quickly jewelry sold online. “Jewelry is more of an impulse luxury item,” he says. However, that doesn’t stop people from treating themselves to new pieces while shopping from home.
Collectibles such as baseball and basketball cards, vintage toys and collectible card games have all seen increased interest from buyers. “We can’t keep musical instruments in stock,” Moulton adds.
Some used car lots are running out of inventory so people may be turning to eBay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to browse a larger selection of cars, trucks and vans. “Vehicles and boats also sell well because people are able to avoid dealer fees,” Chichester says.
Almost anything can be sold online, but these 13 categories seem to be top-selling items on eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. If you’d rather not hassle with selling items yourself, Moulton notes many pawnshops would be happy to take items off your hands at a price that may be comparable to what you’d receive through an online sale.
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13 Items That Sell on eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace originally appeared on usnews.com
Update 08/16/21: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.