Sell for less: the alternatives to eBay
Fed up with eBay fees? Wish there was a better way to sell? Reena Serwaz looks at the alternatives.
Last year eBay once again ramped up its seller fees, making it even harder to make any money on the site. So we've decided to cast our eye over the best alternatives to eBay.
If you are a seller with goods appealing to a more niche creative market try Etsy. Like eBay but with a bit of soul, every shop has items that are either handmade or vintage. What's more products are searchable in fun, unique ways like by colour.
Etsy was established in 2005 by Rob Kalin, who wanted a place to sell his various creations, and now has over 14 million members, 800,000 active shops and 39 million unique monthly visitors.
Listing cost: Each listing on Etsy costs $0.20 per quantity in stock which is about 12p for UK sellers.
What you pay: Etsy makes money through listing and final value fees, with further fees if you want improved visibility for your goods. Final value fees are charged at 3.5% of the selling price.
Payment system: The website offers different payment options including PayPal (processing fees will apply to the total amount you receive from a customer), direct checkout which is Etsy’s own processing system (they charge a similar fee to PayPal of 3% plus $0.25 USD) or cheque, which has no processing fee.
Verdict: Creative people can sell us their weird and wonderful items from a neon removable collar to a sack dress in a niche online community. But you have to be a business selling handmade/vintage goods or supplies in order to sell on this website, so Etsy is no good to individual, one-time sellers with some clutter. B it is an interesting site for fans of buying and selling unique products.
Here's a full breakdown of Etsy’s fees and charges
ASOS was simply As Seen On Screen when it started in 2000 and specialised in selling celebrity-inspired products. Now it is one of the most successful online fashion retailers around, attracting 18.5 million unique visitors a month, with seven million registered users from 191 countries. In 2010 the global giant launched ASOS Marketplace for people around the world to sell fashion to each other. So if you have any new, pre-owned or vintage fashion lying around the house then ASOS Marketplace could be your perfect alternative to eBay.
Listing cost: ASOS Marketplace offers unlimited free listings for both individual and shop sellers.
What you pay: The site makes money from a 10% commission fee based on the final value of any item sold, invoiced every month. This increases to 20% if you sign up as a Boutique seller, along with a £20 monthly subscription fee for which you get extras like the ability to customise your storefront, your own blog to drive traffic to your shop and an account manager.
Postage: You are able to give buyers a range of options for postage including pick up, UK and international mail. ASOS encourages sellers to list postage fairly.
Photos: You get four photos free on each listing.
Payment system: ASOS Marketplace uses PayPal for secure transactions. You will be billed monthly from this account and will be liable to PayPal processing fees as well.
Verdict: The fees are similar to eBay and you can only really sell fashion items rather than random electronics or old rope. But if you have a bulging wardrobe this shouldn’t be too much of a problem and the ASOS brand should ensure you get a great sale!
Here's a full breakdown of ASOS Marketplace’s fees and charges
Craig Newmark founded Craigslist in San Francisco in 1995. Craigslist is a place where a community of users can post classified ads for all sorts of things from jobs to electronics on one of 700 local sites from over 70 countries.
Listing cost: Listings are absolutely free and appear as classified ads.
What you pay: Craigslist offers nearly all of its features for free - a perfect alternative to eBay! The site makes money through employers listing their job ads rather than people listing their goods.
Postage: You don’t have to charge postage as the site is geared towards people selling to each other locally.
Photos: All photos are absolutely free. Use as many images as your item needs.
Payment system: Transactions are face-to-face, so there are no processing fees.
Verdict: The messy user interface is archaic and eBay has a 25% share, but Craigslist is a hugely popular destination for users (30 billion page views a month) and is sure to get you a tidy profit on anything you decide to sell. Best of all no one gets a cut apart from you!
Freecycle is a worldwide movement made up of individual community groups across the globe where people can come together to give (and get) stuff for free. The idea is to reduce the amount of waste we produce by matching and connecting people who are throwing away goods with others who might have a use for them. The first UK Freecycle group was set up in London in October 2003 and today there are 540 groups spread across the country.
Listing cost: Listings are absolutely free and come through to subscribers on group emails.
What you pay: Nothing at all. If any money is exchanged alarm bells should ring because Freecycle is a not for profit charity.
Postage: No postage is paid as users are required to pick up items they desire in their local area.
Photos: Most listings do not have photos and if they do they certainly aren’t paid for!
Payment system: Absolutely no money is involved just postings of items and responses from people interested in the community.
Verdict: The only downside is that you don’t make any money, but you do get to get rid of unwanted items that may not sell well on an auction site like eBay (old tvs, bedding, top soil) for free rather than shelling out money to dispose of your junk.
Music Magpie is a useful website if you are looking to get rid of old CDs, games or DVDs. Instead of an auction the website offers you money in exchange for your unwanted goods.
Fees and Postage: You don’t have to pay anything for using this service; in fact the only person getting paid is you. Music Magpie offers free postage labels to get your goods to its offices.
Payment system: You are paid by cheque, e-vouchers for Marks and Spencer or are offered the option to donate your earnings to charity.
Verdict: Music Magpie has made it very easy to de-clutter your entertainment cupboard. It has a handy app on smartphones that saves you typing in barcodes all afternoon and you can scan away to your heart’s content. However, you need at least 10 items to get started, you have to wait for items to reach Music Magpie HQ and then wait for the quality assessment. So the price quoted may be lower than expected if the quality of items is poor.
Also the value of your old CDs, DVDs and games is not a massive amount (more pence than pounds) so you may find yourself adding more items to the pile in order to bump up your payout.
Jumble sales and car boot sales
Before the internet second hand goods could be sold at your local school or village hall at jumble and car boot sales. It was fun, cheap and meant you didn’t have to take photos from every angle on each item for sale. Take a look at this useful website to see if there are any going on around you.
Fees and postage: The only fee you are likely to encounter is a couple of pounds upfront for coming to the event, which you should aim to recoup in your first few sales.
Payment system: Cash in hand means zero handling costs and maximum profit for you.
Verdict: You can declutter loads of items in one morning or afternoon. No need to wait for an auction to end, no need to wait for money to reach your account, no need to take pictures and no need to post.
However, buyers that attend these sales are perhaps more ruthless than your typical online bargain hunter. Be prepared to haggle and sell items at a lower price than it may fetch online, but remember it is old junk you no longer want or need - 10p is better than throwing it away.
Envirofone, Mazuma Mobile and the rest
There is a wealth of websites vying to give you cash for your old phone. Expensive smartphones often go for high prices on websites like eBay but the joy of a sale is spoiled by the fees you are charged in the end. Selling an iPhone 4 on eBay for example may get you around £300 but the fees could total £40 to £50. Places like Envirofone and Mazuma Mobile could offer you a better deal.
You can see what you could get using this comparison site.
Fees and postage: There are no fees for selling your mobile phone using these websites apart from maybe forking out for delivery.
Payment system: Many sites offer bank transfers, cheques or a higher value offer if you choose to accept vouchers for places like Argos or Debenhams. There are no hidden fees here but if you fail to let the company know the true condition of the phone in the initial online process you could receive a reduced amount.
Verdict: You can sell your old mobile hassle free and don’t have to wait for an auction to end. You can also be fairly sure of what you will get for it.
Preloved began in 1998 and is another great alternative to eBay for all your second-hand needs. There are no fees, just free classified ads helping people turn clutter into cash.
Listing cost: Listings are absolutely free if you are an individual seller, but some costs may apply if you are a business.
What you pay: It is free to use this service but if you are a business you need to sign up for either Business Membership (costing £24 per month, which allows advertisers to have up to 15 adverts live on the site at any one time) or the Business Unlimited Membership (costs £60 per month and allows an unlimited number of adverts for second-hand items).
Postage: You don’t have to charge postage as people will pick the goods up if they are close by.
Photos: Images are free to add to your listing.
Payment system: People can use the ads to drive buyers to their own website or just like other ad websites you can get cash in hand, which is free of fees and means you get paid as soon as you hand over the goods.
Verdict: This website is definitely more aesthetically pleasing than rivals Gumtree and Craigslist. Adverts appear in over 500 categories and the website has seven million visits every month. However there are only about 6,000 adverts listed on the site so perhaps Preloved has some way to go to challenge the likes of eBay.
This is a lovemoney.com classic article that has been updated for 2012.
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