In 2018, I nearly went into online selling after being told how lucrative it is and it is a career I could do from home while being a caregiver. So I was curious and started wetting my toes with selling through a local app called Carousell. I begin by trying to sell used items that are still in excellent condition as well as my craft items.
Later I thought of listing some exercise equipments that I had at a markdown price as I wanted to clear the space in my home. I was selling it for probably about 30% of what I purchased it for and it was obvious I already marked down a lot. I got a few DMs from people trying to haggler price with me. As if it was not enough, some of them expected me to drive to a place that is far away from my home to meet at their convenience.
When I saw the video below, I laughed as I was reminded of my experience in trying to sell stuff online.
So happened that time we were doing some house renovation and we decided some bulky furniture had to go to make more space. I have no time to sell it so I listed the items for free. On the condition, the person need to arrange for transport to carry the items away.
Because it was listed as free, I got a few responses. One asked me to hold it so that he can make arrangement to come from another state to get my furniture but after that he went quiet for a while. When I had another person interested, I tried to contact the first person and he did not bother to reply. In the end, I arranged with the second person to collect it from my house. He came over at night after his shift, with his wife and small baby using a food delivery truck. Together we carted the furniture up his truck. He then went into his truck and took out 2 packets of fresh bread to pass to me as a gift.
Next I was listing some beads for sale. A man contacted me if I could consider selling at a lower price. He wanted to use the beads as practice session for autistic kids. His eldest son, in fact was autistic. He is teaching autistic kids to be independent by making beaded bracelets for sale and wished to have some beads for practice sessions. He told me about his non profit work. Out of curiosity, I looked him up and found out that one of my friends, who owns a few restaurants are friends with him. I messaged my friend to ask him about this man and he said this man is really legit and does a lot for kids with autism to help them remain as independent as possible.
I ended up not wanting any payment but instead passing to him free of charge. He actually trusted me enough to provide me with his house address. I was passing the area and went to drop off the items to him.
Still, in the end, I removed my listing and deleted my accounts. I am done with this method. Online selling is not for me.
Why I decided that doing online sales is not the route for me:
1. Huge waste of time
First, I had to take photo, calculate the cost and determine the selling price. Then do a writeup of the product. I noticed many people are not interested buyers. They just send message to ask and try to bargain price. Or they ask you to hold an item for them but never got back.
2. Inconvenient and involve actions I don’t like
I don’t like wrapping up items and then dropping them over at the post office. If it is one or two inexpensive items here and there, it is a real pain to wrap the items, then go to post office to queue up and drop it off. Some people don’t mind but I realized it is not my area of interest or skill. If there is a delay in the item arriving, I need to call up the courier (lines are usually hard to get through) and get repeated messages by the customer.
3. The money made is not worth the effort
The time I need to drive all the way for COD, or prepare the parcels to be sent off is too much of effort and time. And that for making literally nothing out of them. That can take few hours off my time and what’s worse, my mental energy. I could have used the time to write more blog posts or improve my site which I would be able to see better results.
When you should go into online sales
Even though it is not something for me, I still believe selling online is beneficial in some cases. Especially if you already have an existing business with inventory. With the current economic slump, at least you can get more sales if you list your items for sale online.
The only thing I would be a little skeptical is to buy inventory and then try to list it for sale online. The market is very slow and there is a huge chance that your cashflow and money would be held up by unsold inventory and you bust your credit card for believing they would sell.