The best online marketplaces to make money selling your stuff

You may not realize it, but your wardrobe can be a treasure trove for earning extra cash. Anything from clothing to used mobile devices to vinyl records is a potential product to sell on the used market. If you want to make a little extra money — and also clean up some clutter — online marketplaces can be a great place to sell your stuff.

An online marketplace is a website or application where third parties can sell their goods or services. Most online marketplaces are designed for consumers to buy and sell each other’s stuff, many of which are primarily second-hand. Selling used items is an easy way to make money from items you already own, which can be used to save up or pay for unnecessary purchases. In addition, selling used goods can have a positive impact on the environment.

Selling your goods online is convenient, safe and environmentally friendly. Popular online marketplaces have audiences far larger than places where you can sell items in person. Online marketplaces allow anyone in a region, country, or even the world to search for what they’re looking for and find your listing.

Selling used items is also a great way to be more environmentally friendly. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 17 million tons of clothing and textiles were dumped in landfills in 2018. Furthermore, according to the United Nations Environment Programme, the fashion industry accounts for 2% to 8% of global carbon emissions. Reusing and recycling old clothes and other products can limit the production of new products (thereby reducing carbon emissions) and reduce waste.

Finally, online marketplaces are generally considered a safe way to trade. You don’t have to meet the buyer in person, the transaction is mediated by the website. Marketplaces almost always come with some guardrails for handling transactions, including seller protection, tax calculations, and customer service. As long as it’s a trustworthy site, you can be confident that you’ll receive the buyer’s money before shipping.

1. eBay

Designed for independent creators, Etsy focuses on handcrafted items, vintage items, and artwork. According to the site, there are 31.7 million active buyers, allowing you to reach a wide audience when you post your listing. While most Etsy sellers are based in the United States, their services are available worldwide.

Once you’ve created an Etsy account, you can open a “shop” where all your listings will be featured on the web. Each item is listed by the seller at a fixed price. Etsy provides sellers with many useful tools, including shipping labels, product labels to match shopper searches with your listings, and online forums for sellers to discuss a variety of business topics.

Sellers also have the option to connect their Etsy profile to a Square account so they can sell in person and have those sales reflected in their online inventory.

cost: $0.20 listing fee, 6.5% transaction fee

What to sell: Crafts, Antiques, Furniture and Clothing

2. eBay

eBay is one of the most popular online marketplaces and has been around since 1995. Like Etsy, eBay is a global marketplace — its services are available in more than 190 countries, with the majority of activity coming from the U.S. and U.K. According to market research firm Statista, eBay is the second most visited after Amazon online marketplace.

eBay has everything from electronics to clothing to sporting goods. It even has a category called “Disneyana” dedicated to Disney-related projects. There are two ways to sell items on eBay: “Auction” or “Buy Now”. With the auction option, sellers set the lowest price and buyers bid the highest by a set deadline. Meanwhile, items listed as “purchased” now have a fixed price set by the seller.

When pricing items, eBay helps sellers by offering price suggestions based on similar items that have already sold. Sellers can ship items using shipping labels provided by eBay, and they also have the option to offer local pickup if the item is sold locally.

cost: eBay charges 12.9% of the total amount plus $0.30 per order for most sales, but the exact percentage varies by a few categories.

What to sell: almost everything

3. Poshmark

Poshmark is an online marketplace primarily used to buy and sell clothing and accessories. The site has more than 80 million registered users in the United States, Canada and Australia where its services are provided.

As a seller on Poshmark, you can set prices for your items. However, buyers can also choose to make an offer on the listed items, which sellers can accept or reject. This is useful if you’re having trouble selling your item at the list price – buyers can negotiate the price with you. Buyers in the US can also choose to pay in installments through payment service Affirm.

What makes Poshmark unique is its social element. Users can get followers, and each listing has buttons for customers to like, comment, and share. When an item is shared, it appears in the follower’s feed. Owning stock options is another way for sellers to market their merchandise.

cost: $2.95 on sales under $15; 20% on sales of $15 or more

What to sell: Apparel and Beauty Products

4. Go to Pop

Depop, an Etsy subsidiary, is another online clothing exchange marketplace. It started out as a social network for young creatives to sell specialty clothing designs, but has since expanded into the widely used desktop and mobile markets. The site is more popular with a younger audience – 90% of its 26 million registered users are under the age of 26.

According to Depop, its most popular categories are retro, streetwear, one-of-a-kind and Y2K. When you sell on Depop, you create a profile, just like a social media profile, with a username and bio. Purchases can be made using a debit or credit card, or digital payment services such as Apple Pay or PayPal. Sellers can choose to offer international shipping, and Depop also offers its own shipping labels.

cost: 10% sales fee of total amount, plus variable payout fee (usually 3.49% plus $0.49)

What to sell: Apparel and Fashion Accessories

5. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace, a product of Meta (formerly Facebook), is one of the most visited online marketplaces, with more than 1 billion monthly active users, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Its website is globally accessible, and shoppers can purchase items for local pickup or have their items shipped over long distances.

Anyone with a Facebook account can use Facebook Marketplace. Because the marketplace is connected to the Facebook network, users can use Messenger to communicate with each other, whether it’s negotiating prices or asking for specific details about an item. The market is also open to individuals and businesses. That means anything from used clothes and textbooks to cars and real estate can be found on Facebook Marketplace.

When sellers list an item, they can choose to set a fixed price or list it as an “or best offer,” which indicates that customers can offer a lower price than the posted price. Sellers can also choose to sell only locally, offering pickup or delivery options.

cost: 5% of sales over $8, or $0.40 of sales of $8 or less

What to sell: almost everything

6. Swapa

If you’re looking to sell your old phone, Swappa might be a good option. Swappa is a US-based online marketplace designed for users to exchange new or frequently used technologies. Its merchandise includes cell phones, laptops, watches, cameras, video games, and more.

Swappa reviews all of its products against specific photo verification requirements – this prevents anyone from selling damaged items on the site. If users have an item in need of repair, they can connect to the Swappa Repair Network, a directory of thousands of repair shops across the country. Sellers can ship nationwide or opt for Swappa Local Delivery, a sub-Japan delivery service.

All sellers must have a PayPal account in order to list items, as this is how payments are processed on the marketplace. If you don’t already have a PayPal account, it’s worth creating one because PayPal offers seller and buyer protection and dispute resolution services. Swappa has also partnered with Zip to offer a “buy now, pay later” option in the listing.

cost: The buyer and the seller each pay a fee of 3% of the total

What to sell: Tech products in working condition

While online marketplaces may offer strong seller protections, that doesn’t completely eliminate the possibility of being scammed. Scammers can sometimes impersonate buyers and send fake payment notifications or send fake overpaid checks, so it’s important to watch out for suspicious purchases.

Usually, scams involve scammers forcing sellers to send money to scammers as a refund. For example, a scammer might claim that they accidentally paid for an item twice, and then ask the seller to refund one of the payments — when, in fact, the money sent was bogus.

The FTC offers three tips to avoid online scams:

  • Don’t accept mobile payments (such as Venmo payments) from strangers.
  • If someone pays by check, never deposit more than the sale price. This could be a fake overpaid check.
  • Don’t share any captcha with people you don’t know.

If you suspect you have been scammed, report it to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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