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How To Supplement Your Income By Selling Your Pre-Loved Stuff Online

·4-min read

If, like thousands of Australians, you seized the opportunity presented by the pandemic to tidy up and make a little extra spending money, you’re not alone: eBay saw a 52 percent increase in people starting an online-selling side-hustle, while almost a third said they planned to make it their primary source of income.

For 11 percent of people selling on the platform in the last year, it’s become their full-time gig.

All of that is to say: now is definitely the time to clear out those cupboards and get in on the action. But if you’re still dubious about whether it’s worth your time, consider this: those selling new products via marketplaces during the pandemic made an average income of just under $5000, while about a third of sellers brought in an extra $1000 by selling their second-hand stuff.

And if this doesn’t convince you, nothing will: one in 10 made more than $10K selling pre-owned items online.

So, how can you supplement your income by selling online without creating another full-time job for yourself?

Know who you’re selling to

The buying behaviour of Australians has been under a microscope as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and would-be sellers can use the tomes of data released by online retailers like eBay to their financial advantage.

For example, households flocked to old-school pastimes like puzzles and card games, while the DIYers among us bought hardware equipment, power tools like leaf blowers (which we’re sure you heard), and gardening supplies in their thousands.

Those seeking a creative outlet turned to sewing – the fastest-growing hobby on the platform, with sales increasing by more than 650 percent – while many Australians finally came good on their promise to use that home gym set-up, increasing purchases of nutritional supplements by more than 200 percent.

The lesson? Know who you’re selling to and make some calculated guesses about how macroeconomic activity might impact their spending behaviours, then list accordingly.

Pay attention to pop culture

Equally, it pays to be aware of what’s going on in culture: As the world looked for ways to stay entertained during on-again, off-again lockdowns, for example, Aussies shopping on eBay spent more than $59 million on books (and, yes, Scott Pape’s The Barefoot Investor was the most-sought-after title, though erotic fiction from Mills & Boon also flew off virtual shelves).

By the same token, Chicago Bulls merchandise like clothing, hats and cards skyrocketed following the release of The Last Dance on Netflix, while sales of LEGO, silver chains, and chess sets all jumped when Australians watched or streamed LEGO Masters, Normal People, and The Queens Gambit in their millions.

So, if your friends and family are talking about it, chances are demand for your long-held collector’s items and long-forgotten pastimes could rise among the millions of active shoppers browsing the day away.

Timing is everything

While you’re paying attention to broad movements in pop culture, it also pays to time your listings right in the literal sense. eBay recommends publishing your listings between 7pm and 9pm, when most shoppers have finished dinner, put the kids to bed, or put their feet up. Anecdotally speaking, the absence of distractions like work emails, online learning commitments, or social activities could make them more likely to buy your items and making the time it took to list them well-spent.

Only do as much as you have to

The once-time-consuming nature of selling online is one of the biggest deterrents for re-joining the fray. But things have come a long way since we had to lug package upon package to the local post office during the lunch rush.

Nowadays, courier services like Sendle collect packages up to 25kg from your home and get them safely to their destination for no more than you’d spend using traditional channels. Better still, there’s no printer necessary and most sales made via eBay are eligible for Sendle's collection and delivery service.

By the same token, the days of slaving over listings and product photography is behind us, with platforms like eBay providing pre-filled templates based on millions of similar product pages. Their experts recommend describing your items as if you had to list it without pictures, ensuring any quirks or imperfections are touched on.

You can list up to 40 items for free every month, meaning you can sell in batches and there’s no extra expenses to keep track of.

Rally the troops

There’s no rule that states the person who wants them gone should be solely responsible for selling second-hand items online. Given we’re all spending more time at home, partners, kids and housemates can all contribute to resale efforts – and reap the rewards.

Next school holidays, for example, task the kids with writing descriptions of toys they’re ready to say goodbye to for their listing, then give them a cut of the profits if and when they sell. And don’t be surprised if everyone suddenly becomes an eBay connoisseur.

Turn your designer fashion & handbags, kitchen appliances, and tech into profits on eBay. Everyone’s a winner, when you sell on eBay. Find out more here.

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