Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Selling pre-loved: designer & high-street online marketplaces

Spring is approaching and as cliche as it may be, the time feels ripe for a good-ole clear out. I've gathered one  and a half (big) bags for donations, and separated out a more curated lot of things to sell. In the past I've used eBay only, but this time I thought I'd branch out a bit to other UK-based online marketplaces.

I've always found eBay secure but laborious and I think maybe others have too. If you have well-known designer stuff you're likely to attract attention, but not all buyers will have confidence in the authenticity of certain items. And because of volume, I think high-street stuff get's lost in the crowd. My search for alternatives uncovered a wide range of US-based sites that looked much better to be honest (including Poshmark) but for UK girls the two I came across were Vinted and Covetique.

  • Vinted: Mosly high-street items, designed with a paired app so you can snap photos upload them and trade within minutes. Users are encouraged to photograph the item being worn for a more accurate idea of what you're in for. I find the prices on here to really be scraping the barrel. If you're a buyer (and I haven't been) then you can get high-street clothing and accessories for really cheap prices. If you're a seller though - the same applies. I found I really had to under-price my items to compete with what else was on offer (I'm talking things from Anthropologie and Urban Oufitters which is in the 'higher end' of what's available). I tried it out for those things not designer enough for a designer-exclusive site or not worth the effort of eBay. I'm finding a lot of interest in likes and saves but not always matched with actual purchases. I gather that people want things for very little (the website also has a swapping facility and a 'make me and offer' option). I'm not in a hurry so I figured I'd give it a go. But the volume of items makes me think the inventory will just get lost in the volume. That said, the sale I've so far successfully carried out went very smoothly, both me and the buyer were happy, shipping is determined by the site with set Royal Mail prices and is reimbursed when the money enters your account. So all very easy and straightforward, when it works.
  • Covetique: I came across this asos-owned pre-owned designer marketplace. It works a bit differently. There is a specific list of accepted designers, you fill out a form of the items you have, their condition, where and when you purchased, etc. and they email you back within 48 hours with an assessment of what they will/wont sell and for what price. If you accept, they'll post you a courier box to send them your items which they then sell for the quoted prices. Here's the catch. From what I can tell, they take your items, but you don't see any cash until they sell. Which means you have no way to try other options if things aren't selling. You're basically beholden to the site, without your goods or your money. This is problematic, when the site also takes a 45% cut of the sale price when things finally do sell. I guess if you're not in a hurry and you can't be bothered, (or if you're selling very high end items with a lot of fakes - like Chanel or LV bags) you'll get something rather than nothing, but really it seems like a bit of an unfair deal.
  • eBay: Good old eBay. In the end, I thought I'd take Covetique's price estimates and see if I could get the same on eBay, where I'd get to keep a (much) larger cut. Once you take photos and make the listings it's easy to re-list, try different pricing strategies, etc. And the fees are significantly less. There's a lot of stock, a lot of fakes, and the interface can be a bit clunky, but if you're an honest seller, and a savvy buyer, I still think it comes up tops for the right tier of item (I currently have Chanel sunglasses, a few pairs of flats by Tory Burch and some other designer stuff from the likes of DVF, Marc by Marc Jacobs, See by Chloe, Alexander Wang, etc).

Check out the items I currently have going on Vinted (catheartsshopping) and eBay (catheartsshopping). Ta!

Have you tried any other online marketplaces? What were your experiences? I'd really like to know, so please leave a comment!!

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