Whether you’re moving soon, doing an end-of-season closet clean-out, or simply offloading items that are taking up space and not getting any use, selling online is an easy way to make some cash on your no-longer-needed goods. But to get buyers’ eyes on your stuff and convince them to purchase what you’re selling—quickly—you need a compelling online listing.
Here’s how to create a listing to sell your stuff faster online.
Write specific, descriptive headlines
The first thing buyers will see from your listing is the headline, and this can make or break whether your item catches their eye as they’re scrolling through search results (or are even able to find it via search in the first place). Write a descriptive headline with keywords that prospective buyers may be looking for, including details like the item’s brand, model, material, colour, size, and condition. Avoid acronyms, symbols, and all-caps unless relevant to your item’s name.
For example: “Grey shorts” is unlikely to get views, but “Nike Tempo Brief-Lined Running Shorts Women’s Medium Grey New with Tags” probably will, and will sell more quickly.
Be honest—include accurate details
When writing the item description, be as detailed as possible, including all of the information recommended for headlines as well as the model number, measurements and specs, unique qualities, amount of use (such as new or gently used), and any flaws. Don’t try to hide your item’s condition from prospective buyers. It’s better to be upfront than to deal with an angry customer after you’ve closed the listing.
In addition to describing your item, include a line about the benefit to the buyer of owning the item. This adds a personal touch to your listing.
Use keywords or search tags
Be sure to include keywords in your listing that people are likely to be searching for. Choose 3–6 simple and specific terms that best describe your item to incorporate into your post. With eBay listings, for example, you can select item specifics and product identifiers to help increase your item’s visibility.
Upload multiple high-quality photos
Prospective buyers want to know what they’re purchasing, and high-quality photos will attract people to your listing. Here are a few best practices:
- Take pictures of your item from multiple angles in natural light and with minimal distractions in the background.
- If photographing clothing items, be sure to iron out wrinkles and lay them flat or hang them on a hanger (or, best case, use a dress form if you have one).
- Show the inside and outside of your item as well as close-ups of trims, hardware, and textures.
- Include a photo of tags, labels, and model numbers as well as the original packaging if you have it.
- Take photos of wear and tear, flaws, and defects.
When using your smartphone to take photos, be sure the lens is clean, and your settings are at the highest resolution with the flash turned off. You want photos to accurately reflect the colour and condition of your item, but a little bit of touch-up using built-in editing tools on your phone can go a long way.
When creating your listing, select the most representative photo as the first one in the set, as this will likely be featured in search results.
Price your item correctly
How you price your item plays a big part in how much interest you get and how quickly you’re able to sell. Of course, you want to make money—but pricing too high will likely result in your listing sitting around for a while. Look at current and recently sold listings for similar products in your area (if selling locally) or across platforms to determine the going rate. You may want to watch the market for a few days to see how quickly items are selling at various price points.
If you’re in a rush to sell, undercutting the market slightly may attract more interest. On the other hand, if your item is newer or of higher quality, you may also get interested buyers as long as you explain the price in the description.
It may be helpful to include the per cent savings relative to purchasing the item new so buyers know what kind of deal they’re getting. And note if you’re open to negotiation or if the price is fixed.
Choose the right category
Most selling platforms have a category feature so listings can be easily filtered. Be sure to choose the most relevant category for your item, and select secondary categories as allowed so buyers don’t miss your item in their search.
Offer free shipping or delivery
If you’re selling via Facebook Marketplace or another local classifieds service, consider offering free delivery for buyers in your area—especially for larger items like furniture—as well as shipping options for those who aren’t. Free shipping may also incentivize buyers on any platform.
Respond to messages quickly
Answer prospective buyers’ inquiries promptly and with specific details to indicate that your listing is legit and you’re motivated to sell. Otherwise, buyers might move on to other options. Enable notifications if they’re available so you can respond quickly.
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