Selling Stuff on Amazon

If you’re like me you probably have a bunch of stuff around the house that you don’t really need. I look at that stuff and wonder why I wasted money on it. You probably won’t get all your money back, but you can at least recoup some of it. Most people think of ebay when they think about selling items online. Unless I’m selling a collectible, I prefer Amazon. Amazon is a lot faster and I don’t feel like I get nickeled and dimed like I do with ebay. Amazon deducts a commission based on what you are selling. And there is no fee if you don’t sell the item.

What to Sell

If you purchase a lot of your stuff from Amazon then your order history is a great place to start. From any page click on the “Your Account” link. If you click on the “Your Orders” button it will take you to a list of any orders placed in the last 30 days. There is a drop down list where you can select orders by year.  Browse through your items. Once you find something you don’t want anymore, click on that item to bring up the product page. I usually begin by checking out the competition. On the right side under “More Buying Options” there will usually be a link with a number of used & new. If you click on that link it will bring up the other listings. I read through those and get a feel for the condition and pricing of the other listings. I also check out the ratings of the sellers. If they are selling the item for next to nothing but only have a one star rating then most people will not consider purchasing from them.

Quality of Item

Once you’ve researched and determined your pricing strategy click the “Sell yours here” button. Your first choice is to select the condition of the item. If it’s something I’ve never used or read I will list the item as new. If it’s been used but looks the same as it did new I select “Used – Like New”. If the item shows some wear but is still in pretty good condition I go with “Used – Very Good.” I personally do not sell anything that requires listing in a lesser condition than “Very Good.” Generally if it’s not in good condition then it’s not worth the time to sell and ship. I might donate the item if it’s in good enough condition. If not, it’s time to pitch it. Once you’ve selected the condition hit the “Continue” button.

Pricing & Shipping Options

Now it’s time to use the information from your research to set a price.  I usually price the item a few cents less than the most comparable listing to get my listing towards the top. If there is no competition, consider what it would cost to purchase the item new from Amazon with free shipping. Would you want to pay more than that for a used item? Probably not. If there are no other listings you might want to start with a higher price, you can always go back and lower the price. Enter your price in the “Your Price” box. Then enter the quantity of items you have to sell in the quantity box. The next step is to advise the buyer which shipping options you offer. I typically only select standard shipping. In my experience, if you ship the item immediately the buyer will be satisfied with the time it takes to receive the item. Expedited shipping requires more cost up front and in my experience it’s never been a deal-breaker when selling an item. Also, if someone really wants you to ship by a different method they will often contact you and make the request. Then you can make the decision according to the circumstances of that situation.

Submit Listing

Finally review your listing information.  If you would like to make any changes you can select the edit button and do so. Hit the “Submit your Listing”  button and it’s listed. You will receive an email from Amazon confirming the listing.

Tips

I have a 4.9 star rating on Amazon. My biggest tips are to describe the item accurately. If there is a small scratch on the cover of a book describe it in the listing. Ship the item on the same day as the order, if possible. If not, ship no later than the next day. Finally, if you make a mistake or there is a problem with an order contact the buyer immediately. Describe the issue and give the buyer options. People are very understanding if you keep them in the loop.

Amazon is a great place to unload that extra stuff. Just keep in mind that if you sell it, you’ll have to ship it. If the item is bulky it may not be worth it. The money you receive for the shipping may not cover the cost and you probably won’t be thrilled about lugging that mini-fridge to the UPS Store.

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  • Sirera

    Pretty much every time I have sold anything on Amazon, the shipping costs have been less than what I have actually paid for shipping it. What am I doing wrong?

    • Susanna

      That mostly happens to me when I ship larger items. I try to recycle shipping materials to keep the cost down. That helps a lot. And if it the item is media, I ship it media mail which saves on the cost.

      • Sirera

        You see, what I mean is that I click the standard ($3.99 I think) option, but then when I go to ship it, the cost of shipping standard with a tracking number so you’ll be able to show that you sent it is usually more expensive than that. i never see an option to charge more money, or how to know how much to charge, for that matter.

        • Anonymous

          If you are shipping media (books, movies, music) you can ship Media Mail.
          The Media Mail rate is the rate Amazon uses to calculate your reimbursement.
          They pay a little over that rate for the other expenses that go along with
          shipping something. They don’t pay much over, so I try to recyle envelopes
          and keep the cost down as much as I can. I only track the shipping if it’s a
          more valuable item – like electronics. In that case, I eat the charge to
          track and will also usually insure the item (also not covered by Amazon’s
          shipping reimbursement). I figure it’s worth the expense in the event that
          something happens. But if it’s just a book or a movie I take the chance
          knowing that if it gets lost I’ll have to reimburse the customer. I have
          been very fortunate and not had any problems.