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4 Tips to Sell Unwanted Items Online Quickly
4 Tips to Sell Unwanted Items Online Quickly
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Money Management

4 Tips to Sell Unwanted Items Online Quickly

Money254
Doreen Gathoni
May 6, 2022

While it’s true that most items aren’t usually worth what you spent on them, there is an opportunity to make money selling your unwanted items. 

Firstly, determine if this is a worthwhile, profitable venture for you, before downsizing or choosing to upgrade.

If the answer is yes, here are some tips that could earn you some money back on items you don't want or need.

Tip 1: Identify & Categorise Items That Sell Well And Those That Don't

From mops to iPhones and appliances, anything has the potential to sell. 

Items that are often sold in a majority of stores sell well online. Kitchen appliances, electronics, furniture in good condition, and décor items are some to consider.

Use this listing guide to outline three practical item categories.

Tip 2: Do Your Research For Proper Descriptions & Pricing

Now that you've decided to resell your stuff and have categorised what you want to resell, the next step is to determine value. By doing so, you’re then able to create productive experiences for yourself and potential buyers. 

Step 1: Look At Past Listings  

Start by looking up each item on popular local shopping websites and social media marketplaces. 

Use these platforms to provide you with price range estimates and descriptors for your resell items. For instance, to effectively sell online, use keywords. That means using popular search terms that ensure search results easily pop up on the first browser search.

Additionally, keep an eye out for brand names, size or dimensions, unique item feature descriptions, price and the "age" of an item. 

How do you find the right price estimate? 

You search the popular platform(s) you'd want to sell on and the pricing of similar items. 

Rule-Of-Thumb: To adjust your prices, set a price baseline by pricing an item for half of what you paid for it. Once you do so, you may set a resale price at 50% off or lower and higher than the half-off price.  

Step 2: Note The Best-Suited Online Trading Platforms

This step becomes easier once you complete step 1 in a couple of ways. For instance, it's easier to identify free-to-affordable online platforms on social media, online shopping websites and apps.

Word-of-Advice: It's key to ensure that you don't limit yourself to one platform, especially if you've become comfortable with, or have had success selling on a specific platform. 

It may sound intimidating but selling online is an easy and free-to-cheap trading option for even inexperienced sellers. 

No coding expertise is needed: register, upload and customise your settings to create your ideal online selling experience.

Simply set and edit item descriptions, delivery and payment options. For example, you can opt for payment before delivery or pay-on-delivery. 

You can also customise delivery options. These include self-pickup, using available delivery hire services offered on taxi apps, or local courier services to fulfil purchase orders nationwide via riders and drivers. 

Tip 3: Execute Your Listings Like A Pro

Did you know it is significantly easier to buy than to sell online? 

E-commerce research shows that over 75% of people shop online at least once a month, and new customers go online daily.

Yes, it sounds easy enough - though it can be tough to maintain diligence throughout the selling process when dealing with different buyer preferences. 

However, do remember that most trading scenarios means dealing with strangers too. Most of them only want to buy used items but be cautious of people that cause problems by being dishonest or criminals.

So protect yourself like a pro' would: be clear and realistic about your expectations, ability and eventualities. Here are some ways to do just that with every buyer:-

1. Set Clear Sales Terms 

Before you conduct any sale, be clear on how you want to trade and resolve possible frustrations.

For example, state what happens when buyers fail to collect purchased items within a given timeframe - will it be up for resale? Will there be a refund if it is put up for resale? Also, be keen and cut-off conversations that are unproductive or hostile.

Additionally, stay open to negotiations. 

Word-Of-Advice: Most people who buy used items often feel like they got a good deal if they pay less than the price listed.

With that in mind, state if an item is negotiable or non-negotiable - as an example, you may choose to have items listed above Ksh1500 as negotiable. A common negotiation tactic by sellers is to quote a slightly higher price, then reduce it to the actual price you intended to sell on contact with a buyer. 

2. Capture Clear Item Images Or Videos

First impressions are a pivotal way to stand out as a seller and to capture a potential buyer's attention.  

Since most online platforms provide photo requirements and edit options for professional results, it’s fairly easy to get professional results. 

Consider using smart devices and apps to take and edit pictures and videos at any time, so as to provide potential buyers with a feel for an item and its condition. Here’s how to achieve that:-  

  1. Take photos from different angles, close-ups of labels and of any damage or alterations. For instance, taking six pictures (front, back, left, right, top and bottom) is preferred. 
  2. The more pictures you have, the better the chance to sell it. 
  3. Record videos to lessen the chance of a buyer having unanswered questions. 
  4. Consider taking a 360°view of the item and another of how to use an item or product. Here's an example - record how to assemble a foldable piece of furniture. 
  5. Do not display authentication or warranty certificates online. Most online selling sites provide a verification process to protect sellers and buyers from fraud before posting your item.

Once uploaded, make a point of stating that verification or warranty certificates are available in the item description and that a buyer can request to verify in person (if possible).

3. Provide Clear Item Descriptions

Item descriptions give buyers important information about the features and benefits of an item. So, aim to present each item as exciting, unique and worth the purchase by providing more detail, which increases the chances of selling an item. 

Bear in mind that 43% of global shoppers research products online via social networks before making a purchase. You want the researchers to find an accurate and full description of what they are looking for. 

A description is clear if it provides vivid  details about what's good and what's faulty, about an item.

Here's what a clear description includes:-

  1. Share any issues and damages, if there are any.  
  2. Include accurate measurements and dimensions. 
  3. As mentioned above, remember to state if you are firm on pricing or open to negotiations.
  4. Include how long you've owned an item, material type, expiry date (where applicable) and mode of operation (battery-operated, cordless, solar-powered, plug and so on). These details are crucial for vehicles, machinery and electronics resale.

Tip 4: Schedule When & How To Start

Last but not least, the primary hurdle you may face is the motivation to get started and go through with the entire process of putting up your used items for sale.

To guide you along, these are some tips to help you when you feel like time is not on your side or if you don't know where to start.

Set Goals 

To set goals means being intentional about the four tips shared above but remember, you can adjust your plans to be practical and serve you. 

Let’ break it down with some examples:-

  1. Tip 1 - Plan to complete sorting all items for resale (as shown in the table above) within five days.
  2. Tip 2 - Depending on the nature and quantity of what you've planned to resell, you can be practical about your listings research schedule.


Be specific: say you start your research on 1/6/2022 and are set to complete your research within twelve days by setting aside three hours each day.

  1. Tip 3 - Detail how to carry out your selling schedule for maximum efficiency. 

It means scheduling to balance when you're available to engage buyers and when buyers are available online.

Now, in keeping with tip 2 above,, consider setting aside twelve days to upload all items and their descriptions

  1. Tip 4 - Launch or start trading on 28/6/2022 and set "trading days" for days when you have ample time to engage in negotiations and any other trade-related conversations.

Be mindful of the demand most interactions can have on a seller and buyer. Plan accordingly to optimise your time and effort.

Be Organised 

This tip is a strategic reminder to revisit why you're selling unwanted items - is it to pay off bills? To declutter? Or to earn extra cash for discretionary spending?  

Whatever the reason, you'll probably notice that more items creep into your resell inventory listing and reorganisation becomes a regular task.

Here's how you can stay organised - sort the items for reselling into sell, donate, recycle and trash. Do the same even as you continue to post additional listings and come across more items that you’d want to sell.

Set a Deadline

A deadline refers to a timeline of how long you'll be trading or selling. Which means you can look forward to having items you want to sell, not piling up as clutter in your home or property.

Again, you have a timeline to adhere to, so aim to understand the power of bargaining, as a way to make the most of your sales efforts, before the deadline lapses.

Consequently you’ll learn how to negotiate well and how to offer competitive pricing, to increase the chances of selling all or at least most items.

Word-of-Advice: For the items that don't get sold; consider donating them. Opt to look forward to clutter-free space, after all, as the famous Anne Frank quote goes, "no one has ever become poor by giving." 

Bottom Line: One's Trash Is Another's Treasure

Like most tasks undertaken, you might agree that choosing to do something and doing something, are two different things that require discipline and patience. 

Now, if you choose to sell your unwanted items, take heart.

Choose to focus on the excitement of interacting with new people and earning money to treat yourself, to finally getting something you've budgeted for and much more.

Gathoni is a skilled content developer with over 5 years of experience in content development as a graphic design and copywriter, in different industry sectors. Her passion to nurture positive, stronger, communication impact continues. You can find her on LinkedIn here.

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