13 Mar 2019

How to sell stuff online

Anyone can sell stuff online. You can advertise second-hand things, handmade products or bulk goods in a few clicks. This guide will help you make sensible choices when it comes to finding buyers, listing your stuff and getting paid for it.

Choose the right place to sell your stuff

There are a huge range of sites that can help you sell stuff online. Before you create an account, think about:

  • How often you want to sell
  • What you want to sell
  • Who’s likely to buy from you
  • What fees you’re willing to pay
  • How much time you’re willing to invest
  • How the site protects you as a seller

No idea where to start? Here are four popular sites that each offer something different:

eBay

You can sell just about anything on eBay. It won’t limit you to specific product categories like some sites. Private sellers can list up to 1,000 items a month for free – after that it’s 35p per item. Once you sell something, eBay normally takes a 10% cut of the transaction amount (the amount you charged for the product and postage). You’ll also pay a small percentage to PayPal if you use it to receive money. See how much money you’ll make after fees with an eBay calculator.

Depop

This site is all about good quality clothes for men and women. Instagrammers will feel right at home on Depop, where people can favourite you and like your products. It’s free to download the Depop app and list your items. Once you sell something, 10% of the total transaction amount goes to Depop, and 3.4% plus 20p to Paypal.

Etsy

Got knitting skills? Handy with a chisel? Etsy’s well known for its handcrafted products, as well as custom and vintage items. It lets you set up an online ‘shop’ with its own look and feel. You can list items for around 15p. Once you sell a product, Etsy takes 9% of the total transaction amount plus 20p – this covers the company’s cut and its payment processing fee.

Facebook

Facebook isn’t just for airing political views and keeping tabs on your ex. You can also use local Facebook groups and Facebook Marketplace to sell second-hand stuff to people in your area. There are no fees for listing or selling items – and it’s up to you how the buyer pays for and collects the goods.

Just be aware that you have little to no protection as a seller on Facebook. The company won’t get involved if something goes wrong with a transaction. So be extra careful about avoiding scams and bad buyers.

Keep costs down

Want to make a tidy profit? Make sure you’re not losing money to overhead costs:

Charge postage costs. Some sites will calculate the shipping for you, but it’s often worth checking prices yourself. Tell buyers about your postage fees up front, and remember to charge more for big items or international shipping.

Avoid unnecessary processing fees. PayPal is often the preferred payment method on sites like eBay and Depop, and it’s useful as it can give buyers and sellers extra protection.

But PayPal can also get expensive for sellers, costing between 1.9% to 3.4% plus 20p per sale. You might want to explore cheaper options, especially if you’re selling on Facebook or other sites where the payment method is completely up to you.

Monzo.me lets you receive and send money for free. Your buyers don’t need a Monzo account to use it – you just send them a link and they pay. You do need a Monzo account to receive the money, but this only takes a few minutes to set up. Download Monzo here. Just remember, only send items once you’re sure the buyer’s paid!

Protect your products

Some buyers may try and scam you to get your product for free. Make sure you:

Receive the money. Only hand over goods when a buyer has paid for them. Don’t fall for excuses like “I need to try it first”. If you use Monzo, we’ll tell you as soon as money enters your account.

Get proof of postage. Some people might lie about an item being delivered. And stuff sometimes gets lost in the post. Proof of postage shows that you sent it, so you shouldn’t have to refund anything if you think the buyer isn’t being honest. Or if an item’s been lost, you can take up the issue with Royal Mail or the delivery company you used. If you’re sending an expensive item (or just want peace of mind) choose a delivery option where the buyer has to sign for it.

Know if you’re protected. Many online marketplaces offer seller protection – this means they’ll help you if things go wrong, like a buyer complaining about your product. You may need to stick to certain rules to get this protection. For example, Depop only protects sales made through their app using the ‘buy’ button.

Keep a record of conversations. Many sites recommend that you don’t talk to buyers outside the site – that way, the company has a reliable record of what you said.

Attract buyers

Ready to make some money?

Set a realistic price. Try using the free eBay app to scan the barcodes on your books, CDs and other items. It’ll list identical items for sale, so you can see how much they typically go for.

Make it look good. Nothing puts buyers off like a blurry or badly-lit photo. Take some high-quality snaps that show the item from different angles.

Write a winning description. Your product information should be clear, detailed and accurate. Feel free to chuck in some appealing adjectives – but don’t mislead buyers or they’ll ask for their money back. Make sure you include keywords so buyers can find your product more easily.

Time it right. For example, it doesn’t make sense to end an auction on eBay while people are working or sleeping. Think about the seasons too – you might have a hard time shifting sweaters in the middle of summer.

Build a good reputation. Good reviews will help you sell more products and charge a decent price. Make buyers happy by responding to questions and delivering goods quickly. If you’re new to selling on eBay, it can help to get a feedback rating first by buying and reviewing a few items yourself.


Looking for an easy way to pay and get paid? Send and receive money quickly, easily and for free with monzo.me. You don’t need a Monzo account to send money via the app. If you want to receive money, you can open a Monzo account in minutes.

Share post