I like to begin things with a goal in mind. So when it comes to organizing, instead of informing you about how to de-clutter and organize the items in your house on a step-by-step basis, I’m all about getting you to the point of thinking about where to place all your unwanted items. This is especially useful for those who find it difficult to part with their possessions for fear of being wasteful.
Based on my experience working with clients who don’t de-clutter often, majority of the unwanted items would need to be donated, recycled or thrown away. That leaves a small amount of items that can actually be sold. Having been on the Carousell platform for about three years now, I can safely say I know a thing or two about selling second-hand items online. In this post, I would be listing some tips on how to sell used items on Carousell without spending money to “bump” up sales on the platform. I also hope that some of my experiences would help to incentivize many of you to get into the habit of living only with what brings you satisfaction of “sparks joy” in your life.
1. Listing Your Items
Take Good Pictures
When it comes to items that have never been opened or used before, try finding a stock image online to best represent your product. Visual aids come in really handy when selling products on second-hand platforms like Carousell. When I am looking for a product to purchase from Carousell, I would be seeing a list of product images of about the same product. I would tend to click on the one that is photographed the best or the clearest first. So while your product may not look like its original condition, it is good to create a good first impression by taking either a really good photo of the product or simply using a stock image first.
With that being said, Carousell allows you to post up to four pictures and you want to be as transparent about the products if there any defects to it. I will recommend not selling any items that are stained, moldy or damaged as the chances of someone else re-purchasing is very low. Sell items that you are confident that you as a second-hand buyer would use. Light scratches or slight discoloration is generally understandable but be sure to have real images of this in the four photos of your product.
There were times when I listed a product featuring just one to two pictures of my product and I had buyers asking me for more pictures on details on manufacture and expiry date for skincare and makeup products. So if you are selling personal care items, do capture information on these as part of the four images so that you don’t have to keep taking these pictures repeatedly when different buyers ask for it.
With visuals playing a big role in selling your items, think of your product listing like a carousel of images on Instagram. Follow a consistent theme. For example, you may want to capture images of your products with a clean and consistent background and lighting. You don’t want one image of a product to be taken against a background of other products in the picture. You would notice that products with a sharper contrast with a clean background tend to sell better as they are visually more appealing enough for people to click on. And always up the exposure and brightness to give a cleaner, more professional look to your images.
Be Very Specific about the Details
When it comes to selling on Carousell, always think from the perspective of the buyer. What information would the buyer need to have in order to make a purchase decision or offer? When it comes to personal care products like makeup and skincare, share about the manufacture date and expiry date. If such information is unavailable please do state that it is unavailable in your product description upfront. When it comes to selling personal care products, only sell it when it is brand new. Based on my research very few people are willing to purchase used personal care items as it is often considered to be unhygienic. In my experience, makeup and skincare products tend to sell fast (within one to two weeks of posting them) if they are brand new. When it comes to cult and luxury brands, buyers would be more wary of its authenticity so ensure that your products are genuine and have a proof of purchase if you have one on standby.
For other items like clothes, shoes or bags, I find that it is useful stating the reason why you are selling them. I don’t know about you but I’m always curious about why people are selling their products other than the fact that they are trying to get rid of them. Was it because the product didn’t fit well? Is the product somehow damaged but not stated in the description? Was this a hand-me-down? Somehow explaining the origins or the product or why you are selling them helps build a connection with a potential buyer. Remember the saying that one man’s poison is another man’s meat? This may not be the best possible phrase to use, but being as open about the product as possible helps you build a reputation as a trustworthy seller.
I’ve also seen many sellers rating the condition of the product on a scale of 1 to 10 and find it to be very useful as it shows that they are thinking of a potential buyer in mind. As a seller, you always want to be conservative about the condition of the product when selling a second-hand item. This is also a good time to take note that items around the scale of 7-10 tend to sell better than those below a 7 so ensure that your items are within the top selling range of decent quality and working condition.
Price Them According to its Market Value on Carousell
If you happen to scroll through Carousell, which you should be doing as a seller, you would find that one of the most common items listed on the platform are clothes. They are one of the most abundant yet least valued items on Carousell. When it comes to pricing items on Carousell, the rules of pricing based on its original price and brand is of less concern here. When I speak of market value, I refer to the market value on the Carousell marketplace. Buyers on Carousell may come from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions but they are all after the same thing – a good bargain for unwanted items. So when it comes to pricing your items, forget about how much you purchased those items for and instead focus on how much your competition are pricing them on the platform.
Another thing to consider is how much you value the item. What I mean by this is, let’s say you want to sell this yellow dress that you had for a while but you don’t want to spend so much time selling it. Try listing the item as a “Fast Deal”. I’ve seen many sellers and I myself have tried this tactic and it works. But when using this word, be very flexible on the price of the item that you are willing to sell it for. Sometimes, time is more valuable than money. Spending more time on selling an item for an extra $5, in my opinion may not be worth it but ultimately the decision is yours. Carousell buyers are not the easiest of people to deal with so its best to be as specific about your expectations as a seller upfront when listing an item in the description and be flexible on the price so you can sell an item for a much faster.
You want to make the buying decision as simple and as fast as possible. Include the postage fee in every item. Doesn’t it frustrate you as a buyer to be excited about a certain price an item is going for only to discover that there other hidden costs like shipping to account for? Including postage that is Singpost normal postage in the listing price helps to simplify the entire process and cuts down on time negotiating with a buyer. Majority of the buyers that I have sold to often opt to have the item posted to them rather than to request for a meet-up. Because in meet-ups, payment is often not offered yet and buyers and sellers both run the risks on both ends that the other party might not show so postage seems like a safer option but always check the profile of the buyer or seller that you are dealing with to see if they are reliable.
Write Good Copy
When it comes to writing good copy on Carousell, I am not saying that you have to write like an experienced copywriter. But the Carousell landscape is equally competitive and buyers are demanding. When writing copy, be specific about your product specifications and what your expectations are of a seller. Do not try to oversell an item beyond it’s value on Carousell.
You can try using humour every once in a while. I once came across a seller who attempted to sell a bottle of sample perfume, branding it as a “love potion.” It’s fine to inject humour every once in a while but remember not to go over the limit. You don’t want your products to be branded as false advertising. What I found especially interesting was how he told a story about the product and how he actually found the effort and time to do so, thus drumming up the value and demand for the product. Don’t be afraid to use humour, and tell a product story just don’t go overboard with it.
List Them During Peak Times
Weekends are the time when most Carousell buyers are online. I got this tip from a blogger few years back and I tried it on my Carousell page and I found that it works. People tend to browse through Carousell on their commute to and from work and during weekends so try to list them during those times to get more traction.
Use Appropriate Tags
Many websites have said to join interest groups in order to sell better. In my experience, I don’t think that those really work for me. Or at least, it is difficult to track whether Carousell groups do help to increase visibility of your items. What is useful about those groups though is to show you about the general demand of items catered to a particular interest or brand – information for your research.
What I find more useful are tags. Just like on most platforms, you can do a keyword search on Carousell on items you want to buy. So ensure that you include relevant keywords that describe your product so it appears in the top few searchers when buyers are looking to purchase your type of product.
2. Negotiating with Buyers
Check Out Buyer’s Profile
You may get 10 buyer offers if you are lucky or you may only get one offer for a product, regardless, always do a background check on the buyer you are dealing with.
As a general rule, buyers with a rating of 5 are definitely good to deal with but check out the comments on the reviews. Watch out for details like their last transaction. Are they just as reliable as they were before? I have also come across buyers that were rated just below a 5. Reviews work both ways, sometimes sellers may leave a negative review just because the buyers was a few minutes late and make a big deal out of it. For me personally I like to see how these buyers respond to such negative comments. I have come across quite a few where buyers and sellers rant at each other. Not the type of people I like to deal with. There were times that I dealt with buyers just below a five rating and the experience was still pleasant.
As a seller, you want to sell an item as fast as possible but you also want to make sure the transaction is as stress free as possible. It’s okay to take time out and evaluate your options or to choose to not respond to certain buyers if they don’t meet your criteria as a seller.
As a seller, always to respond to buyers as soon as possible. In more recent times, Carousell has installed read receipts and information on when the buyer or seller was last online. If you encounter a buyer who read your message and was online recently but has not responded to your message, you might give them a while to get back to you but if you don’t it is okay to move on to other buyers and not pin your hopes all on one buyer even though they may be the first to enquire about your product.
As a seller, always be patient and answer a buyer’s queries as much as you can but once you sense that the buyer isn’t as interested anymore, usually if they have been asking questions on and off for about 3 days but with no sign of an offer it is time to move on to someone else who is more interested and willing to put down an offer in the next 24 hours.
3. Selling the Item
Request for an Offer
As sellers, always request for an offer from a buyer before any trade. You would be able to hold the buyer accountable in the event that they do not hold up to their end of the bargain in the reviews section. What I like to do when I have more than one interested buyer, is to thank each of them for their interest while also informing them that offer is on a table. Do not use this opportunity to bump up your price or introduce other hidden cost. That is just bad taste and rather rude. I’ve had experiences where buyers got cold feet and never made a formal offer, I then went on to approach the second buyer who was interested and got a deal within the next hour. Be nice to everyone you meet on Carousell as they are helping you adopt your unwanted items and are willing to pay a price for it.
Request for a Review Once an Item has Been Shipped
Buyers and sellers like to trade with buyers and sellers with a good reputation, with good rating and reviews. So if your experience has been pleasant always request for a positive review and follow up with them for one in return. Reciprocity is what drives many community platforms like Carousell so keep putting such values to work.
Determine What Your Value Add Is
Carousell is not just a platform about selling used items, it’s also a great way to learn a thing or two about business and that is always thinking about your customer. Find little ways that you can value add to your customer. Sometimes I throw in a freebie or two like a brand new mask that I no longer wish to keep or a nice brand new bookmark for my buyer as my way of saying thank you.
Also when preparing your items for shipment, ensure that they are clean and in usable condition. For clothes, throw them in the wash and add a nice fragrance to it. For shoes, I always try to polish them before handing it off to a buyer in the post. Trust me, these little touches would go a long way to having that nice polishing review for you to sell more items on your page in future.
Professional Organiser’s Note
So I have talked a whole lot about how to sell and negotiate with buyers on Carousell. Once you have been on Carousell for a reasonable amount of time, you realize one hard truth, and that is the value of items drop substantially especially when it comes to things like clothes and books. Observe patterns in your own purchase behavior and why you are letting go of items you once thought to buy. When purchasing things in the future, always go for better quality items, because that’s still the thing that many second-hand buyers go for. Also better quality items often mean you make less purchases because these things often last longer, that means less time spent on dealing with picky buyers. When it comes to books, try borrowing it from the library. Borrowing books are free and you can even request certain titles for the library to purchase. You can even download reading apps to read anywhere for a small sum or use the Libby app and borrow titles for free using your NLB account.
For those items that we do intend to sell, try scheduling a regular de-clutter of your wardrobe. Keep a box with all the items that you want to sell on carousell nearby somewhere that you see everyday. Often delaying the process of selling on Carousell often means that the value of the product goes down with time and you don’t want that.