Posted by Alex Jackson on May 18, 2018
Recently we talked about the importance of diversifying your sales channels and how multiple streams of revenue are important for any businesses success. So today let’s take a look at a specific route that is often overlooked but can be quite rewarding financially with the added benefit, it’s so easy you may not have to leave home to do it. We are talking about selling locally via sites like Craigslist, Facebook, and Letgo. Peer to peer local selling is nothing new, in fact, it’s one of the oldest forms of commerce imaginable. But it’s gotten a whole lot easier and far more effective with technology. Some naysayers might say, “Isn’t this just for old used junk?” Of course not! There are plenty of new items posted to these sites on a daily basis, and many independent retailers use these sites all the time to attract new customers into their physical stores, because it's free advertising! So let’s look at a few of the basics where to start, the pros and cons, best practices and what merchandise works?
Where do I start? - there are hundreds of sites to choose from, but we would recommend concentrating on three to start Craigslist, Facebook, and Letgo. These three have the most traffic, buyers and posting to these three sites is a breeze with their easy to use interfaces.
The Pros- let’s start with the cost which is in most cases nothing, no packing, no worrying about returns, no waiting for payments as most transactions are handled in cash. Work from your home? You can do this and make some extra money without having to take off those comfy bedroom slippers.
The cons- Con-artists are your single most important concern. Experienced Craigslist sellers will tell you, they get dozens of scam texts and emails all the time and they will also tell you that cash is king in every transaction. Always insist on cash for Craigslist and Letgo for every purchase with no exceptions. Ignore the money order offers and in most cases if the call or text is not coming from a local number its likely a scammer. Facebook, on the other hand, does offer secure payment options so this is a significant potential plus to the seller concerned about potential scam artists. One other minor concern that should be addressed is that this peer to peer selling method does require a certain degree of flexibility in your schedule. Buyers often request to do a pickup or a meet up to exchange the goods at odd hours. Bear in mind the 9 to 5 workday schedule does not apply to every potential customer. If you are home office based, stay at home parent or semi-retired this method of selling can be easily integrated into your schedule.
Some best practices- Treat this just like any other online sale you may make. Take clear photos of the items, write a good description and include specifics like model numbers, UPC’s and sizes. Reply promptly to any inquiries and be prepared to do a bit of haggling over the price. Clients will always expect a bit of wiggle room on price so always add some padding. Don’t get discouraged if you encounter a no-show or two or a customer that passes on a purchase. 99% of the time, if they make it to your door they are committed to making that purchase so push that customer over the finish line.
So what sort of merchandise works here?- It’s all the stuff that usually gives the online sellers a headache to pack and ship. Start with selling those bulky, heavy or fragile items also any consumer electronics do very well in these marketplaces. Some popular categories include Home Design and Furniture, Bedding and Bath, General Merchandise, Kitchenware, Napkins and Glassware, Jewelry and Holiday Décor. Clothing can be more challenging unless you are selling bulk lots of clothing to other resellers or have a brick and mortar retail location. If you want to try selling clothing, stick with outerwear like coats, jackets, shoes or handbags.
Give it a shot you will be amazed at how easily and quickly you can turn some of your goods into some cold hard cash with virtually no cost to you.