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My First Experience Selling Electronics Online

I am embracing a minimalist lifestyle. As you may have read in my last post, I am down the rabbit hole of learning about living with less (stuff) to focus long-term happiness unrelated to external possessions.

It’s been on my mind for months to sell my second laptop. I bought it earlier this year, as I had anticipated needing it for work projects, though I quickly realized it was ultimately a frivolous purchase. It was a gold MacBook with all the bells and whistles (okay it was just a fancy case because it’s TINY and a new USB cord). I knew it was something I could sell that someone would love to own.

I have friends who have sold things online, though I definitely felt a bit apprehensive about selling a laptop on the Internet. I had so many questions: would people really want to buy second-hand electronics? How much do I sell it for? What site do I sell it on?

I allowed these questions to cloud my mind, and avoided taking tangible action for far too long. My ultimate push to sell it was watching videos from financial expert Dave Ramsey who gives pretty outrageous advice to people looking to earn extra money and pay off debt. I heard advice that he gave to couples to sell both of their cars, their houses and literally anything they owned if they were ready to get serious about taking control of their finances. I figured if people could sell such personal items that they used every day, I could sell a laptop I barely used.

So I did it.

Here are the different strategies I used to make the sell!

THE ‘MARKETING’ STRATEGY:

I know from reading #GirlBoss (okay, and just general smarts), that the photo is key when selling anything online. After much procrastination, I cleaned the laptop from every fingerprint and used my ‘skills’ as a photographer to stage an iPhone photoshoot. I made the decision to list on both eBay and Kijiji at the same time (which you will later see was a mistake). I’ll be honest, this took me an afternoon to get the postings online. I had a steep learning curve of reading about how to sell on each platform. After I got it to the point where I would be interested as a potential customer… I posted. To my surprise, within an hour I had requests on both platforms, and in a few hours I was overwhelmed with requests. Clearly, I priced it correctly and took some good photos. It was officially ON!

PRICING STRATEGY:

The laptop was in mint condition and was used only a handful of times. It was originally purchased for $1,549 CAD. As it was an older model, I noticed online the price had dropped to $1,349 CAD for a new one. Yikes. So I went with my gut and charged $900 CAD and also included the bonuses like the $50 case and an extra USB cord. I clearly wasn’t going to profit from this, though I appreciate the lesson learned. (And also an extra $900 cash is nothing to sneeze at.)

SELLING STRATEGY:

I originally chose to sell to a man who emailed me via Kijiji who had a very clear response to my ad. As we chatted back and forth, it was clear he was interested and seemed like a sane human who simply needed a laptop. Then suddenly, I checked my e-mail and noticed that someone had insta-purchased the laptop on eBay! Oh no :-(. I found out that when someone purchases on eBay, you have to send them an invoice to pay on PayPal, then ship it out. Even though I had built a relationship with the Kijiji man (named Adam) I figured ultimately it’s easier to send a PayPal invoice and get paid, vs. meet a stranger in person to get paid. So I sent the PayPal invoice. For two days there was radio silence. Then I emailed the eBay woman (Susan) to check in. Radio silence for a few more days. Realizing she probably wasn’t going to pay, I emailed her letting her know I was going to cancel the invoice (for a courtesy) then cancelled. I then went limping back to Adam from Kijiji, asking if he’d like to still buy it. He said yes, and we arranged to meet-up. In the meantime, I got a response from Susan who asked if I could send the laptop to Nigeria (seriously), and she’d take care of the shipping. IMMEDIATE RED FLAG. I ignored this, and a day later got an email from eBay saying this person was a scammer. PHEW! A good reminder to not send anything until you have cash in hand. Also, I found out Adam was no longer interested that same day as he found a better deal. So let’s just say I was feeling a bit annoyed, and wondering if it was all worth it.

I decided to give it another shot (electronics will only depreciate in value, and it would be such a shame for this awesome product to go unused). I listed on a Saturday, received numerous responses, and decided to go for it and meet up with a new potential purchaser the following day. We connected via texting and I figured I had nothing to lose, so we decided to meet up on a Sunday evening at a busy coffee shop near my place.

THE ELECTRONICS EXCHANGE:

The gentleman who was purchasing gave me a call before arriving at the coffee shop and ended up bringing his sister along as well (I guess in case I was an Internet murderer heehee). He was UBER prepared for the meet up. He had a checklist to ensure I wasn’t a scammer. He checked serial numbers, Apple IDs, speakers, charging ports, etc. etc. etc. It definitely gave me peace of mind that he was so prepared. After about 30 minutes of checking out the laptop (side note: I brought my own laptop along so I had something to do to keep busy), he was interested and wanted to buy. WOOHOO! Before meeting up, I asked him if he could bring cash. He brought nine $100 bills in an envelope and allowed me to count it. It kinda felt like being a drug deal or something when you’re counting $100 from an envelope in a coffee shop, though it was overall a great exchange. Turned out he had back surgery and needed a lighter laptop, and I was helping him in more than one way!

OVERALL:

Overall, I definitely haven’t caught the selling online bug, though I am grateful for the opportunity to sell. I would sell online again, though I would likely only sell things that are higher in value as it doesn’t feel worth the time to sell smaller items.

Have you ever thought of selling online? Or are you a pro at selling online? If you have tips share them with us below or on our Instagram post or Twitter! The sharing economy is the future, so I highly recommend embracing it – at least with baby steps!

  • Gwen

 

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