Many of you ask me about my guide to reselling online. When it comes to reselling items on some of the most popular online auction and selling platforms like eBay, Etsy, Chairish, Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, Shopthrilling, Rubylane, Mercari, and so many others, there are many ways to be successful and sell stuff for a profit. With more than 25 years of experience, a doctorate in the field of art and antiques, and an established record of appraising approximately 50,000 objects a year, I can share my expertise about reselling art, antiques, and collectibles as well as thrift store, flea market, and yard sales finds. Of course, I discuss tips for reselling which you may watch in my videos and read in my blog posts. Here are some of the most important tips when reselling objects online.
First, sourcing the specific types of objects that people want is key such as vintage items, accessories, home décor, and jewelry among other items. Knowing what to buy for resale is as important as pricing a sales item correctly. For instance, there are active and profitable markets for such items as vintage costume jewelry, video games and electronics, antique furniture, mid-century modern ceramics, dinnerware china, quilts, art glass, vintage purses and accessories, architectural salvage and so much more. These items can be found in such places as grandmother’s attic or basement, abandoned storage lockers, flea markets, yard sales, estate sales, online auctions, and curbside, in dumpsters or the trash. Read my How to Source and Sell Thrift Store Finds article for more tips and a guide to reselling online
Marketing your Inventory
Marketing your objects to just the right potential buyers at the right price is something that comes with experience and market insight. It’s an important part to my guide to reselling online. You have to know where the buyers are, what they want to buy, and for what amount. Some people want to buy certain types of objects and others want to buy at a certain price. Some buyers will buy the right objects at any price. Others are budget conscience and are savvy negotiators. You need to learn how to handle all types of potential buyers.
Some buyers are attracted by brand names and others want quantity or many objects in a lot or group. As you learn about your buyers, you also have to learn about why they prefer various sales platforms—both online and off. Know the intricacies and characteristics of the many different sales platforms so you can cash in and sell out your inventory. To market your objects in the smartest way, you have to know your stuff.
Online Resources to Get Items Sold
Certain items sell better on particular online outlets. For instance, costume and fine jewelry is often marketed on poshmark.com, therealreal.com, and etsy.com. Home décor items – both new and vintage– are actively traded on eBay.com, Facebook Marketplace, and Chairish.com. Vintage items are often the options of choice for buyers searching on sites like eBay.com, Shopthrilling.com, Bidsquare.com, and others. Clothes, bags, and accessories are known to sell on Tradesy.com, Amazon.com, Etsy.com, etc. These are not the only places where such items sell, but they are a guide to reselling online.
When listing items on such platforms, remember the time involved in posting photos, descriptions, dates of manufacture, shipping options, etc. To cut down on the time you may spend listing items, consider websites that cross list your items such as Listperfectly.com. Such websites help to grow your e-commerce business. Many offer selling tools, templates, inventory management help, and analytical data to track how well you are doing. Client feedback is important so be sure to inquire and work with your clientele to build and maintain good relationships. Read my 3 Tips for Selling on eBay.
Listing for your Best ROI
The time you spend on listing your items is valuable. So, your ROI or Return on Investment can be increased using helpful tools like my appraisals and websites like Listperfectly.com among others is a good idea. It is also necessary to know how to write an effective listing as part of my guide to reselling online. Read my Selling Online Start to Sold Tips for listing advice. Many of my appraisal clients ask me, as part of the appraisal process, to write a listing for the items that I appraise. I’m often asked how to attract buyers, how to best promote an item for sale, how to attract buyers. In order to write an effective listing for an online selling platform like eBay.com, Poshmark.com, or Etsy.com among others, you have to start with the basics.
The Five Points – Get it Sold
Here is a cheat sheet for those of you who want to know how to write an effective listing when marketing your reselling items online:
1. Be Clear
Sounds simple but it isn’t always simple. The problem is that most resellers want to give their potential buyers or shoppers as much information as possible. That’s fine but sometimes this interest in getting buyers to know your item results in too much information about the good points about the item and not enough basic information about the item itself. Don’t muddy the waters. Make your listing clear and concise and highlight it with photos (more on this in a minute).
Sure, you need to tell potential buyers how wonderful your item is but you don’t need to be too wordy. Concise, clear, and specific descriptive words will help get your item sold. Avoid too much flowery language and esoteric information. Tell the buyer what they need to know and let the photos do the rest. Photos need to be clear, free of any background images that may distract buyers, and showing all aspects of your item are part of a winning combination for resellers. I offer tips on how to take winning photos for your listing on other reselling videos and articles. For more, read my 3 Photo Tricks to use Selling Online.
2. Paint the picture
When it comes to writing a listing in order to sell an item online, give the basic information about the item but also paint the picture for the potential buyer, helping them to understand why they might want to buy the item. Highlight the ways that an item can be used. Consider alternative uses or settings such as using a pretty mid-century modern Murano glass ashtray as a jewelry trinket tray. This kind of listing information expands your sales marketing arena to unconventional buyers such as non-smokers in this case.
Don’t only rely on marketing to the typical and expected buyers, branch out. For your Murano glass ashtray, don’t only market to smokers but suggest how the object will be attractive to non-smokers too. Make suggestions about the ways your listed item can add to or enhance something that already exists for most potential buyers such as design additions or storage solutions. Think outside the reselling box.
3. Stick to Five points
Whenever I am at those odd five-point intersections on the roadway, I think of reselling options. The five-point intersection or the place where all things converge is a good way to think about reselling methods. As you develop your listing, reveal the basics or the five points that make your object special. The first point should be the most obvious: what is it? The second point should be another piece of basic information such as age, color and other basic descriptive information. The third point should reference the maker or manufacturer. The fourth point should address condition and quality materials. The fifth point should focus on the all-important price.
4. Buzzwords and Brand names
Of course, you don’t want to focus only on buzzwords or the peripheral information about your item, but descriptive terms can be attractive to buyers. What type of descriptors should you use? Terms like antique (more than 100 years old) or vintage (less than 100 years old) are regularly used in reseller’s listing ads for items. Specialty terms that relate to style like Chippendale, Regency, Rococo, Hepplewhite, Gothic Revival, Duncan Phyfe, Mid Century Modern, Scandinavian Design, Louis XVI, Art Deco, Art Moderne, Grotesque, Social Realism, Impressionism, Art Nouveau, Post Modern, 1970s Mod, Renaissance Revival, to name only a few. The term classic is used and when it is used, it is important to note if it is describing a time period like a classic car which is at least 25 years old or a classic style such as a traditional form. Using buzzwords can help people learn more about your item and that is always a plus for resellers.
Like Buzzwords, brand names attract buyers. You know that highlighting your brand name item will drive sales. Make sure your listing highlights the brand name status of your item. Your brand name item should be listed with the manufacturer/maker information on your listing. Look for brand names when you are sourcing your inventory for resale and make sure that buyers are aware of its brand name status when you are writing your listing, too. The brands that have been reproduced or imitated are those which carry much reselling weight.
Feature brand names by category such as Tiffany & Co., S. Kirk & Sons, and Gorham for silver; Pairpoint, Aladdin, and Stiffel for lamps; Fulper, Van Briggle, and McCoy for pottery; Murano, Kosta Boda, and Fenton for glass; Ty Inc. Beanie Babies, Barbie, and Hot Wheels for toys; Precious Moments, Hummels, and Lladro for figurines; Chanel, Givenchy, Kenneth Jay Lane, Miriam Haskell, Eisenberg, Weiss for costume jewelry; Pokémon, Parker Bros., and Disney for games. I don’t have to tell you that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Sometimes these brand names even attract buyers to items that are not of the highest quality or made from the best materials. This brings us to the items that are reproductions of brand name pieces or knock offs. If you have such a reproduction or brand name knock off, be sure to identify it in your listing.
5. Highlight the Details
If there is something that is important about your object but would be considered a detail, add it to your listing. For instance, an interesting point about the designer of a tea set or the specialty materials or expensive glaze used on only the best pieces produced by a manufacturer. Make sure you make your potential buyers aware of the stuff that makes your piece one of a kind, unique or unusual. It’s not considered something special for nothing. If your object’s got it, flaunt it.
Always Get an Appraisal
Don’t think you need my expert appraisals? All of my successful resellers and clients will tell you that you certainly do. Getting appraisals in order to ensure that you get as much money as the item is worth is very important part of my guide to reselling online. I told a client to think again when he told me he just wants to get more money than he paid for the items he resells. I understand this concept and can see where he is coming from with this way of thinking, but I don’t agree with him. Think of it this way… if my client paid $5 for something worth $500, does he really just want to settle for selling that item for $10 and be happy because he got more than his $5 investment. It is better to sell that item for the $500 that it is really worth.
Appraisals help to avoid you making that drastic mistake of just selling it for more than what you paid. During the video call with that client, when I gave him this example, you could see the light bulb go off in his mind. He was so happy to understand what I have been meaning when I say let’s sell it for what it’s really worth. If you don’t know what it’s worth, you don’t have all of the information that you need to cash in. Resellers work hard so I want them to have all the tools to succeed. There are many resellers who use my tools and have offered testimonials showing how my tips have helped them sell their items. Follow along and I will help you get your items sold too.
Watch videos on my YouTube channel where I offer more of a guide to reselling online.