How do I: Sell stuff online?
Alice Jolly is an author, playwrite and teaches creative writing at Oxford University. She is crowd-funding her own memoir of infertility and surrogacy with the publisher Unbound. 50 per cent of the proceeds of the book will be donated to SANDS (The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Foundation).
Thursday 08 December 2011
Selling unwanted belongings online is the perfect way to raise a bit of spare cash in the run-up to Christmas – and of shedding unwanted gifts come January. It takes only a few minutes to sign up to one of the web's myriad selling sites.
For the online sales novice, Amazon is a good start. The sign-up procedure is straightforward, and it is easy to list your items. Even better, there's no need for photographs.
As far as books are concerned, glossy hardbacks and recent releases sell best, though to maximise buyers' interest it's worth checking your account regularly – at least once a week – to see if anyone is offering the same thing at a better price. It's also worth listing books as "used – like new", even if they have barely left the bookstore. Buyers looking for new products tend to stick to big-name sellers.
Presentation is key. You can't beat eBay when it comes to selling odds and ends – but photographs can make or break a deal. Make sure you show plenty of angles, and offer close-ups of textural changes. Pointing out flaws is a good way of gaining trust.
Don't underestimate the social network. Facebook can be a great way of selling things. Your friends are your best target market, since they're likely to have similar interests and tastes to you.
If you experience problems delivering an order, let the buyer know as soon as you can. Maintaining a working relationship is key to getting a good seller rating.
Before going on holiday, check your selling accounts. You don't want to arrive home to find someone, somewhere, is waiting for you to dispatch an order they placed two weeks ago. There's nothing like a tardy delivery to damage your reputation. And online, reputation is all.
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