The first part of a new year is typically a time for cleaning out closets and the garage, getting rid of things you don’t need anymore and organizing what’s left. Selling stuff these days requires more than simply setting up a garage sale on your front lawn. One of the best methods is to sell it online, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use some tried-and-true outlets to pass on everything from old clothing and furniture to antiques and collectibles. Here are some outlets:
• eBay: Auctioning items on eBay exposes your sale to millions of buyers, but it’s important to understand the process and how best to market your items. To determine the worth and marketability of your item, search for similar items at eBay’s “Completed Listings” list under “Advanced Search”. You must register first, but there’s no charge to do so. Before you post your listing, read eBay’s seller’s recommendation guide. You’ll pay eBay a portion of your profit in fees, including posting your listing, completing a sale and receiving payment through PayPal.
• Craigslist: The king of classified-ad sites, Craigslist began in 1995 as an email distribution list of events in the San Francisco Bay Area and soon began offering a means by which roommates could find each other. Nowadays, selling everything from cars to home and garden supplies on Craigslist couldn’t be simpler, but consult the site’s FAQ and “Avoid Scams and Fraud” page before starting.
• BackPage.com: A Craigslist cousin, BackPage.com partners with local newspapers, alternative weeklies and other media outlets in your area.
• Pawn shops: Some pawn shops, also known as pawnbrokers, purchase merchandise directly from the customer. Others are primarily used to secure loans by using items like jewelry or electronics as collateral. Your item is returned after you repay the loan.
• Etsy: New York-based Etsy (www.etsy.com) allows artists and crafters to sell their homemade products, but has lately expanded to include sales of retro and collectible items. Basically, you set up your own shop, post your products and wait for people to find you. A little social network promotion will help attract more eyes to your site. Sellers can now offer Etsy free shipping coupons through a program offered by the website.
• Facebook: You can post photos and small ads on Facebook. While each seller’s initial audience may be small, word can spread quickly.
• Your own website: There are a several free or open-source projects, such as osCommerce, you can use to power your online shop. Take advantage of all-inclusive, small business hosting solutions, such as Yahoo Merchant Solutions, which help sellers get started with a minimum of fuss and headaches.
• Google Product Search: Google has found yet another way to add to its billions. Product arm Google Product Search receives a lot of attention from avid Google users and it’s free to list there if you have your own website. Google Merchant Center is a service launched in 2009 that makes it easy to upload and manage the product listings you want to appear in Google Product Search, AdWords, and other Google properties. (The Merchant Center basically is a substitute for Google Base, although you can still use Base.)