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A Quick Guide to Selling Items Online

July 9th, 2013 Personal Finance

If you have clutter lying around the house that's worth too much to give away, or you produce items as a hobby, why not try selling them online? It might seem complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, selling items online is a great and easy way to make money.

Choose your website
For anyone who hasn't sold items online before, the best method is to use a third party rather than create your own website. If you're selling handcrafted products, the site to use is Etsy. Etsy is a place for artisans to market their creations, and is home to every level of skill. You can sell anything from clothing to jewelry to refurbished furniture, or vintage items. For items of higher value, such as collectibles, place your product on eBay. This is also a great site for niche markets - dedicated collectors and people looking for rare items often search eBay first. For everything else, use Amazon. Amazon is particularly good for students looking to sell their textbooks.

eBay
EBay is best for items that will sell for high prices, as it does have listing fees after your first 50 items. EBay works like an online auction - the seller lists the item with pictures, a description and a minimum price. The seller must also choose a shipping price, which means you should get an accurate estimate of what it will cost to ship before listing your item. Then, shoppers bid on your items in the amount of time you've requested your item to be available for. EBay also has an app for your mobile device so you can buy, sell and track items on the go. In order to receive payment for the transaction, you'll need a PayPal account. Don't worry - signing up for PayPal is free and it's easy to use.

Amazon
Like eBay, this website also comes with fees (99 cents per item or a flat rate of $39.99 a month). Amazon sells nearly every product imaginable, both used and new. The first step is to upload your inventory with pictures and detailed descriptions. You'll get an alert when one of your products has sold, and you'll pack and ship your item as soon as possible. When selling products online, it's important to be completely honest in your descriptions and pictures, and to ship to people in a timely fashion. Your customers can rate you, and getting a bad review will make it harder to sell items in the future. Amazon will transfer the payment directly into your bank account shortly after your item has sold.

Etsy
Etsy charges you 20 cents for every four months that your product remains listed, and deducts 3.5 percent of your selling price if your item sells. However, you have the opportunity to personalize your seller's page, and you get access to a community of artisans and craft enthusiasts. To qualify as a vintage good, the item must be at least 20 years old. You can sign up for an account with Facebook, or make one independently. With your account, you can have both a username and a name for your Etsy shop. You also have the option of using your full name, but it's not required.

Tips
When choosing a username for a seller's account, be professional. This will be the first thing people see when they look at your items, and having a misspelled or inappropriate username will cost you customers. Look at products similar to what you're selling on various websites in order to list it at a fair price. To compete with large organizations, price your item somewhere in the middle. Make sure you get high-quality photos of your items at all angles, and good luck!