Selling stuff online can be a great way to make some extra money. It could be items around your house that you don’t use anymore or products that you create.
As you evaluate ways to sell things online, you’ll want to consider what you’re selling because that will guide where you choose to sell it. Additionally, the associated fees and tax implications could be other considerations you’ll need to make.
We’ll explain how online selling works, the advantages of selling online and the best platforms for online selling.
What are the Benefits of Selling Stuff Online?
Selling things online makes for an easy and convenient transaction process. And, you can list and ship items in your free time when it’s convenient for you. Here’s a look at some of the top benefits of selling stuff online.
Make some extra cash.
Having some fun money to spend as you please can be great. Or, you could use your extra cash from your online sales to save up for a large item you’ve been wanting or needing. No matter how you use it, this is money you wouldn’t have otherwise, which is great.
Avoid devoting a weekend to a garage sale.
Before auction sites and community forums like Craigslist became popular, the only way to sell household items you no longer need was to host a garage sale. But that often means devoting an entire weekend to the activity. Now you can sell stuff as you clean out instead of storing it all year until your garage sale weekend. It’s a far more convenient way to get the stuff out of your house while earning some extra cash.
Be more environmentally friendly.
Each year, Americans dispose of millions of tons of garbage. An astounding 20.4% of this garbage is from durable goods that someone could repair or repurpose. Selling the items you no longer need is far more environmentally friendly than disposing of these goods. Plus, you get peace of mind knowing someone is putting those items to good use.
Create a great side hustle.
Selling household items you no longer need is just one reason to sell online. You could also create products to sell online to begin a long-term side hustle. Many hobbyists who enjoy crafting or small manufacturing don’t want the burden of creating and maintaining an e-commerce website. So instead, they turn to selling on eBay or other third-party online sales sites.
Find optimal buyers for your goods.
Some niche items could yield great returns if you could find the right audience for them. But that’s really challenging with in-person selling. Online selling opens you to a far larger network of buyers who might be interested in your product or service. When selling antiques to an antique mall, you’ll probably get a fraction of the price you could get from it if you were to sell it online.
Easiest Ways to Sell Stuff Online
We’ve evaluated the many ways of selling goods and created a list of the best ways to sell stuff online. Here’s a look at the top options available.
Best for: Auctioning unique and interesting items
eBay is a well-established online sales site. It rose to popularity as an online auction site but has grown since then. Now, small business owners use it to list and sell goods every day. Its strength though is still sales of unique and interesting items. eBay connects you to a wide range of buyers and is highly searchable. So if you have an old antique sitting around that you think might be worth something, check out what it generally sells for on eBay.
The fee structure for eBay is designed for casual sellers who list 50 items per month or less. If you list more than that, you’ll start to incur more fees, which might make it beneficial to look elsewhere depending on what you’re selling and how regular your sales are.
Pricing: eBay charges 10% of your sale proceeds and shipping costs for the first 50 items you list and sell each month. All listings over that are 30 cents per sale.
Best for: Used book sales and ongoing product management
Amazon is an enormous e-commerce platform where users can sell just about anything. One area it’s great for is selling used books. Amazon started as an online book retailer, so it’s no surprise that it is still a great place for media sales.
Users that sell more than 40 items per month might consider a Professional plan. This is a $39.99 monthly subscription that removes the requirement to pay 99 cents per item sold. You’ll still pay a referral fee to Amazon for the sale, but large retailers can reduce their overall expenses substantially through a Professional plan.
Pricing: Selling through Amazon is certainly not cheap. You’ll pay a base of 99 cents per item sold plus a referral fee that ranges from 8% to 20% depending on the item category. Media items include an additional $1.80 closing fee.
Best for: Inexpensive online listings
Compared to eBay and Amazon, the fees for selling on Bonanza are extremely small. The big catch to it is that consumers don’t know it as well as they do eBay or Amazon, which means your audience will be smaller. That can make it more challenging to get top-dollar for your online sales.
And, because it’s not as well-known, consumers don’t trust it as much. However, you can accept payments through PayPal, which is fast and convenient.
Pricing: Bonanza collects 3.5% of an item’s sale value and shipping costs above $10. So if you sell an item for $50 and the shipping cost is $12, you’ll be paying 3.5% of $52, or $1.82. The minimum fee is 50 cents. Items that you sell for more than $500 are charged differently. You’ll pay 3.5% on the first $500 and then 1.5% on the cost over that.
Best for: Large items you can’t ship
Large household items like appliances, furniture or household goods that are too large to ship are perfect for selling on Facebook Marketplace. Buyers in your general area will see your listings and you can post the items to local Facebook Groups for added exposure.
Sometimes these sales require in-person meetings, which can be risky. Consider meeting in very public places and accepting digital payments, such as Venmo, Zelle or PayPal to avoid any scams or issues.
Pricing: Local selling is free. When you offer to ship an item, Facebook charges a flat rate of 5% per shipment with a minimum of 40 cents on shipments of $8 or less.
Best for: Selling clothes online
Poshmark allows users to sell a variety of goods, but it’s best known for used clothing. List your gently used apparel as you clean out your closet. Children’s clothes are especially popular on the website since children tend to outgrow their clothes before seeing too much wear.
Pricing: Items that you sell for less than $15 incur a flat $2.95 fee. Items over $15 have a 20% fee.
Best for: Selling crafts and handmade goods
Looking to turn your crafting hobby into a side hustle? Etsy is the perfect place for that. This is the best way to sell crafts and homemade goods online without creating your own website.
Because you’re using a platform that so many other handmade sellers use, you’ll have to work with the reputation that other sellers give the site. For example, some sellers don’t honor their shipping windows, which can make buyers leery of purchasing from the platform again, even though each seller is different.
Pricing: You’ll need to pay 20 cents to list an item on Etsy. You’ll pay a 5% transaction fee on the sale of an item, but this does not include shipping costs. Using Etsy Payments as your payment processor will mean paying additional fees, but it’s still quite reasonable as far as payment processors go. You’ll pay 3% of the transaction cost plus 25 cents.
Make These Sites Work for You
Before choosing an online platform to sell your stuff, consider what you have to sell. And if you’re doing some serious cleaning, you might need to create an account with more than one of the sites listed above to get the most out of your goods.