After spending some time gathering and preparing stuff you want to sell, today is the day! The good news is that selling your clothes online has literally never been easier. Numerous companies have taken it upon themselves to ease the pain of peer-to-peer selling for both buyers and sellers, creating simple ways to get your goods out the door and get money back in your pocket. When it comes to buying and selling women’s fashion, the best ways to sell right now are through eBay, Poshmark, and Tradesy. All of these are extremely reputable, reliable selling platforms that I have used myself for several years. I’ll go through the pros and cons of each below.
As a slight aside: technically, another option is direct selling with PayPal via Facebook or Instagram. I’m not going to talk about those methods in this post, because they are an entirely different and more complicated beast to tackle. Of course, there are other peer-to-peer selling platforms out there too, but I’m just going to focus on these 3 right now, since they are the largest and the most user-friendly for selling.
eBay is most definitely the largest and most well-known selling platform out there. From that perspective, it’s a great place to sell since you can reach a huge audience with your listings. eBay is also the main platform for sellers outside the US. You can create up to 50 listings on eBay per month for free. If your item sells, eBay will take 10% of the sale price, plus you’ll lose PayPal fees as well (about 3%). Take note: for new sellers with limited feedback, eBay may hold onto your funds for up to 21 days before releasing them to your account.
Besides the advantage of having the largest reach, eBay also is the only option that has multiple selling formats available: fixed price, best offer, and auction. The flexibility of pricing means you can experiment with what works best to get your listing out the door.
The biggest disadvantage of eBay is its clunkier, more complicated seller interface. Over the years, they’ve done a lot to take away some of the pain points of selling, but ultimately it’s still not as clean and user-friendly as other options. Also, because of eBay’s payment policies, sometimes you can run into issues with non-paying buyers.
The most error-prone part of using eBay is shipping. Typically, when you create a listing, eBay will make an educated guess based on your listing and fill out the shipping section for you. Although usually this is fine, sometimes it guesses incorrectly. For those selling out of the US, the best and most fail-safe option is to switch the shipping method to flat rate shipping via USPS Priority Mail. This method is not too expensive, has tracking, and is very fast. That way, you don’t have to worry about determining the package weight, and you can get the packing materials for free. I recommend using the flat rate padded mailer, since it will comfortably fit (and protect!) just about any clothing item inside. You can order them from the USPS website here and they’ll deliver them to you for free! Once your item sells, you can easily create a label within eBay, print it off, and go.
Tips for selling on eBay: take all your pictures ahead of time and create listings all at once. Personally, I find listing on my laptop is much easier than using eBay’s mobile app, but your mileage may vary. For activewear, I only fill in the required fields–the additional options such as sport or material probably won’t help you sell, so it’s not worth spending the time. If you have a good idea of price, listing fixed price with offers accepted is my favorite way to start. NEVER ship until you’ve received email confirmation of payment!
Poshmark is the most social selling platform around. This means people can like and share your listings, and they can follow your closet. The social aspect means that your listing is much more likely to get in front of more eyes. If you are very active on Posh and connect yourself with a lot of people via liking/following/sharing, you could have great success selling even obscure brands. Posh also has “parties”, where you can share your listings to a themed event, where potential buyers can scroll through. If your item is picked by a party host, that ups your chances of selling even more.
Poshmark is a US-only app, which is of course a downside for anyone elsewhere. They also have the highest fees of the other platforms: 20%. I factor these fees in when I’m pricing my items, so I often end up asking a couple dollars extra here than I do elsewhere. Another limitation of Posh is that you can only create listings via their app on your smart phone. This probably isn’t an issue for most people, but it’s worth noting. Posh buyers can also be a bit high-maintenance sometimes. I frequently get asked if I’ll trade, or if I’ll go lower through PayPal (of note: offline transactions are against Posh terms), or if I’ll post a pic modeling the item. This can be kind of annoying, but it’s nice to get interest!
Posh allows buyers to make an offer on any listing. This function can be great for sellers, since Poshers love to use the offer button! If you want to sell quickly and/or you aren’t confident of the price you chose, Posh’s offer system gives you options. On the other hand, Poshers can be serious lowballers, so brace yourself to get some eyeroll-inducing offers. If an offer comes in too low, you can counter, or you can simply let it expire.
As far as other upsides: in addition to the social functions, Poshmark is also an extremely clean, easy to use interface for sellers. I listed something this weekend and, including taking photos, I had the listing live in just 3 minutes. Even if you have a lot to list, you can get through quite a lot in a short time. The selling function is refreshingly straightforward. You just need photos, a title, a description, and a price. That’s it.
Poshmark has a set fee for shipping; they’ll automatically email you a prepaid, addressed USPS Priority shipping label after your item sells. All you have to do is print it, pack it, and drop it at your post office or in your mailbox. Posh collects funds immediately from the buyer’s account, but the money is pending on your account until after the buyer accepts the package via Posh, or 3 days after delivery, whichever comes first. From there, you can withdraw your balance to your bank account, which takes a couple days to clear.
Despite the sometimes annoying buyer behavior, I’ve found Poshmark is an extremely effective selling platform. Buyers are very active and I have a lot of luck selling there.
If you’d like to give Poshmark a try, I’d appreciate it if you’d enter my referral code when you sign up: JBVWT. Besides selling, Posh is home to lots of killer deals, and my referral link will get $10 toward your first purchase.
Tips for selling on Poshmark: interact with other Poshers to boost your visibility. To stem the tide of questions, add a note in your description that says “no trades”. Use Poshmark’s bundle feature to incentivize larger purchases: in the “my seller discount” section, you can offer buyers a discount if they buy multiple listings from your closet. Don’t forget to check the app every day or two when you have live listings so you can respond promptly to questions before buyers lose interest. If you forget, Posh will email you.
Of the three options discussed here, Tradesy is the most luxury-focused. I’ve found that this means buyers are more likely to pay higher prices than buyers on Posh, but items can also tend to move a little more slowly on Tradesy. Like Posh, you can follow people’s closets on Tradesy, but it is not as socially active as Poshmark.
Tradesy also has the lowest fees: only 9% if you spend your credit on Tradesy. If you transfer it out to your bank account or PayPal, you’ll lose an additional 2.9%. Still, that’s only about 12%! Tradesy listings are purely fixed price, no offers. Funds are released to you 4 days after your shipment is delivered to the buyer, at which point you can withdraw to your bank account (another couple days’ wait).
For those who have a lot of anxiety about shipping, go with Tradesy. They have a nifty shipping kit, including all packaging and a prepaid label, that you can have them send you once your item sells. The caveat here is that it makes shipping more expensive (typically, $10), so you may have to sell your item at a lower price to keep the total competitive and appealing to buyers. Alternatively, you can select to have Tradesy email you a shipping label (a little cheaper at $8.50), in which case you’ll have to have a printer and all packaging supplies on-hand. If you’re a more experienced shipper, you can also choose to handle shipping completely on your own outside of the Tradesy app–they’ll just give you the buyer address and you’ll do the rest.
Another nifty feature with Tradesy: they automatically clean up your main photo. This means that even if your photo is not quite top notch, it’ll still look nicer to those browsing.
Tradesy’s selling page has a few more bells and whistles, but overall keeps things pretty straightforward and does a good job of walking you through each step. One small gripe I have is that the sizing function is not ideal, especially for lululemon (which, by the way, sells extremely well on Tradesy). It lumps size “2” in the same bucket as XS and waist size 26, but a lulu size 2 is more like an XXS and 24. For lulu, I always choose the Tradesy number size (e.g., “2”) that matches the lulu size, even if the letter size doesn’t match.
The other downside of Tradesy is that it’s easy for your listings to get lost in the mix. As your listings get older, it’s less likely for someone to find your listings unless they’re searching for something specific that you have. I suspect this is the reason things can move slower on Tradesy. Still, I have had several older listings sell, so it’s not totally a lost cause.
The low fees, clean interface, and luxury vibe mean I’ve been really happy selling on Tradesy. Tradesy can be an especially good option for lesser known brands–I’ve sold quite a few more obscure items by carefully choosing keywords and addings tags. The shipping kit is also a unique feature that makes selling even more painless for newbies.
If you’d like to give Tradesy a try, I’d love for you to use my invitation link to sign up. Like Posh, you’ll get a credit in your account through my link if you feel like shopping.
Tips for selling on Tradesy: Tradesy doesn’t allow you to create your own listing title. It pieces it together based on the color you enter, brand, category, and style/collection name. To get an ideal listing, I recommend filling out all 4 of those fields. For lululemon, I disregard Tradesy’s price suggestion tool, though it’s super handy for other kinds of listings. Use the tag feature for added visibility.
Now that you’ve gotten an orientation, here’s what I suggest for next steps.
If you’re in the US and you’re new to selling, I recommend starting with Tradesy or Poshmark. Poke around and see if one of them seems more intuitive to you, or you can choose based on the overview I gave above. Just be sure you choose ONE platform to start to keep things simple for you. You can get fancy later! If you’re outside the US, I recommend just going straight for eBay.
When you’re just starting out, I recommend that you create no more than 5 listings at a time. If everything sells quickly, you don’t want to get overwhelmed with having to manage shipping for too many packages at once. If you still have things to list, wait a few days, then start adding more.
Before you list: notes about shipping
One of the worst things about selling is if you manage to sell something, only to realize you have nothing to send it in. Count up the number of items you’re listing and make sure you have an appropriate shipping package available for each one. (Of course, this doesn’t apply if you’re using Tradesy’s selling kit.)
First of all, I recommend putting your item in some sort of bag before you put it inside the main mailing package. If you want a free option, hold onto the bag mailers you get from your online orders. Turn them inside out and they’re ready to be reused! (By the way: this is usually what I use when I need to make a return.) They’re also free! Definitely make sure you protect your item in a second bag, since these mailing bags can be dirty.
For another free option, see my previous post here about how to use a lululemon shopper tote as a mailer. They’re durable enough to make it through the shipping process, and most of you readers probably have them in abundance.
As I mentioned above in the eBay overview, US ladies can order Priority Mail flat rate bubble mailers for free! Lastly, you can also just go out and buy some padded bubble mailers from an office supply store or a big box store like Target. They’re less than a dollar a piece, so they won’t break the bank.
And don’t forget your packing tape!
Notes about selling as lots/bundles
If you really have a lot to sell and you want stuff to get out the door sooner rather than later, selling as a lot/bundle might be a good option for you. Lots mean fewer listings to create and fewer packages to ship. That said, there are a few things to watch out for if you decide to sell items more than one at a time.
First of all: be sure you’re still being very thorough with item condition and photos!
Expect your listings to move slower. If people just want one item in the lot, they’re going to pass over your listing since, again, why would they pay extra for an item they don’t want? In other words, the more items you add in, the more hard-pressed you will be to find something who really wants everything in the lot.
Expect much lower prices. Most buyers aren’t going to get excited about throwing down $300 at once, even if that may be their “true worth” if sold separately. Once you have a guesstimate in mind for the true worth, knock 25-40% off that, and that’s probably about what you can expect to get for your lot.
Lot sizes of 2-3 items seem to do best. I definitely don’t recommend going above 5. Bonus points if your lot makes sense when put together, e.g., coordinating items in the same color or print. Make sure items in lots are all the same size. When you mix sizes, you make it less likely that there’s a buyer who will fit everything, and buyers don’t want to pay extra for items that may not even fit. Overall, even though listing as lots might save you a little bit of time, you unfortunately lose sale speed and lose some potential cash.
One nifty way to get around deciding what to put together as a lot is to list on Poshmark and create a killer bundle discount, like 30% for 2 or more items. This way, buyers can put together items that make sense for them personally, increasing the likelihood that you’ll sell more than one item at a time. In my opinion, Posh’s bundle option is the best way for sellers who are motivated to sell multiple items at once. If you have coordinating items, add a note in your description letting buyers know to check your closet for the matching piece.
What to do if it doesn’t sell
If you’ve had something sitting for a couple weeks and it hasn’t sold, here are a couple of strategies to get it out the door:
List it somewhere new. Typically, I only list items in 1-2 places when I start. If it doesn’t sell as quickly as I’d like, I’ll list on another site. Once, I had been sitting on something for several weeks on Poshmark. I listed it for the same price on Tradesy, and it sold in less than a day! Sometimes just getting your item in front of a new audience is all it takes.
If you have it listed on Poshmark, lower the price. This makes it show up in the “price drop” section, as well as sends an email to everyones who has liked your listing. If you have it listed anywhere else, lowering the price isn’t as likely to drive sales, because it doesn’t make your listing any more visible, nor does it alert watchers/likers.
Try an auction. eBay is your only option here, but auctions can be a really effective way of moving things out the door, especially if you choose a low starting bid. I had an item listed for ages at a buy it now/OBO of $60. I got nothing and more nothing. Finally, I put it on eBay with a starting bid of $1. It sold for $75! Of course, another time I tried a dollar starting bid, the item only sold for $25 and I was hoping for closer to $50. So, it can really go either way. Generally, auctions (especially $1 auctions) are most effective for more popular items/brands, like lululemon.
Revamp your listing. Delete your listing. Take fresh pictures, spruce up your description, and maybe lower your price, too. Create a new listing from scratch so it’ll show up in the recently listed section, which will bring more visibility your way. If you tried selling as a lot to start, try breaking up your listings.
I hope this guide helped to address some of the questions and concerns you might’ve had about selling. I hope you’re excited, too! Do you have any lingering questions about listing your stuff? Need help with a style name or color? Not sure about shipping? Leave your question in the comments and I will do my best to help you out.
If you managed to get some listings up and running, feel free to leave a link in the comments!! (Please don’t do direct selling here, stick with links.) I would love if we could all help each other by shopping and sharing each others’ closets. And who knows, maybe you’ll even find some great deals from fellow readers. :)