Rhythm & Binary

Selling old stuff online

The past few months I’ve been selling off some old used electronics that I’ve had for a while and wasn’t using.  Before I did this, I attempted several different selling options, but ultimately settled on eBay.  Here’s why with a breakdown of my different experiences…

So first shot was LetGo (https://us.letgo.com/en)

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LetGo is fairly new and I think caters more to the hip millennial types.  It was super easy to setup and free.  However, I really didn’t like the whole “you have to negotiate for sales with customer” thing.  Basically, I was looking for an automated way to sell and minimize the amount of contact with a buyer.  Additionally, I was looking for a secure method of payment….so I moved onto the next one.

Next up, Varage (https://www.varagesale.com/rva-buy-sell-trade-va)

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Varage was kinda cool because it’s locally maintained in Richmond, Va.  It’s set in such a way that it creates a community, there are people that referee the community and you have to be “approved” by one of the admins once you create an account.  I liked the local community part, and the fact that whoever you’re dealing with you have a reasonable amount of certainty that they’re not bad people etc.  However, after looking at what was selling on the site it looks like it caters more to the Moms and family-type businesses instead of people interested in electronics etc.  I didn’t get a lot of attention except for one lady that contact me about a laptop I was selling…..so I moved onto the next one.  I do have to say this was a cool one though and totally good if you wanted to sell homegoods or stuff for kids and families (i.e. clothes or playsets etc.).

Next up, Amazon.com (www.amazon.com)

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I am a huge amazon fan. I love using amazon and even working with AWS (as you’ll see in entries on this blog).  HOWEVER, I have to say that trying to do small sales as an amazon “seller” was incredibly difficult.  Just to sell an iPhone, I would have to provide amazon with my original receipt and proof of purchase.  I totally understand why because it does cover their back and make sure that the sale is legitimate, but it doesn’t exactly make the process easy.  Soo my experience with amazon was that, if I was gonna go and sell products from my own factory, I’d totally use amazon.  If I ‘m gonna sell some used electronics…I’d move onto the next one.

and so now we have the final one, the WINNER is:

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So setting out on this adventure I needed the following:

  1. Secure way online to sell some old electronics
  2. Controlled communication between me and the buyer
  3. Secure way of transacting payment and delivery information
  4. Some way to validate the buyer
  5. Some way to deal with the buyer without having to meet them in person

Ebay did all of these and more.  The whole system is very easy you just:

  1. Create an account
  2. Create a listing for your product (they have dialogs for this which make it very simple)
  3. List your product
  4. Wait for someone to either bid or you can have a buy immediately option which was what I did

I sold several electronics that range from a android tablet to an old running watch that I hadn’t used in years.  Every time it was super easy.  Once I created the listing and a purchaser gave me an offer I could validate them using “feedback” which were comments people can leave about your profile.  The money was handled using paypal, the buyer pays to paypal, then paypal doesn’t allow me to have the funds until the buyer okays it (package is delivered), and then I just transfer the paypal monies to my bank account.  I also need to note that they have a mobile app and webpage. It was all managed electronically except for shipping…

I have learned shipping is far more complex than I thought.  I thought it wouldn’t be that bad, but what I found was IT IS EXPENSIVE.  First I tried to use the USPS – that was not good.  I later learned that they have a kiosk, which is supposedly much easier. I was essentially hazed by one of their employees and have since vowed more or less not to use them….so then I moved onto UPS.  They were good until one of their employees asked me if I wanted to ship with them, and then proceeded to charge me $45 for something I could pack myself for $15 and then ship for like \$5.  The whole thing is there is (1) a shipping cost and then (2) a packing cost.  These can add up quickly, so you have to be as clever as you can here.  What ended up working for me was that my company offers corporate rates for employees through FedEx…so I did that.  But I should put a plug for the USPS kiosk as I heard (as long as you’re willing to pack it yourself), it’s a cheaper option and you don’t have to deal with humans.

So overall, my experience was a good one.  I only had one return which ended up not being that big of a deal.  I really like selling online because it opens up your potential buyers to people in other states etc.  It’s also very well managed and easy to work with.  Highly recommend it if you want to sell something in the future.