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Sellers Choice 2019 Marketplace Ratings: Craigslist

craigslist

Craigslist came in 9th place in the 2019 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces. More sellers complained this year about fees, and some said Craigslist isn’t keeping up with rival mobile apps.

In January 2019, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 13,000 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 11 online marketplaces included in the survey.

craigslist - 2018 Sellers Choice Awards

Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

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craigslist
Year Established: 1996
Description: Online classifieds; general merchandise, real estate, help wanted
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Summary:

Craigslist came in 9th place in the 2019 Sellers Choice Awards. Sellers use Craigslist to sell the obvious – and not so obvious – types of items. Obvious pros of selling on Craigslist: it’s free for “owners” (as opposed to dealers), it’s easy, it offers a way to sell large and hard-to-ship items, and it’s a great way to reach a local / regional audience.

Some might be surprised to learn EcommerceBytes readers are using Craigslist to sell antiques, fine items, and breakables – and even goats (by a breeder)! Some use it to liquidate their stale inventory, or to advertise yard sales, or their brick-and-mortar stores.

Some sellers said they are open to shipping items – one seller noted the lack of integrated shipping. Other benefits sellers cited: easy to use, and cash transactions (“and it’s 100% yours”).

The cons are also obvious – sellers don’t reach a regional and certainly not a global audience on Craigslist, there are no listing tools (“no way to delete old, sold or delisted items,” one seller wrote), and it provides no metrics. “It’s not keeping up with selling apps like Letgo and Offerup,” wrote one seller.

There is no customer support, and no mobile app, which would make communications easier, sellers said.

“Craigslist is old school and I commend them for keeping the original look and feel. However, their backend could use an overhaul. Creating a listing is clunky and unintuitive. Also, it’s high time Craigslist had an app. The third-party ones are terrible.”

Additional drawbacks include the presence of scammers and lots of spam. Many sellers feel unsafe meeting strangers. And then there are the bargain-hunters and the no-shows that sellers say waste their time.

One seller said Craigslist has new spam detection algorithms that are too aggressive and are deleting a large number of valid/legitimate postings in error.

Craigslist began imposing fees for business sellers (dealers) in 2016. More sellers this year complained of the fees that Craigslist is charging, yet there’s little to indicate in the comments that Craigslist is using the funds to make improvements.

Craigslist received a 6.13 in Profitability; a 3.79 in Customer Service; a 3.87 in Communication; and a 6.9 in Ease of Use. It received a 5.92 from sellers when asked, “How likely are you to recommend Craigslist as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?”

Reader Comments:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I use Craigslist most of the time, especially for large items like furniture or items prone to break in shipping – glassware, ceramics.

The format is easy. It is the seller’s responsibility for selling, not Craigslist. Craigslist gives sellers guideline to sell.

Craigslist is good for selling antiques, but it’s not the best site for a large worldwide audience.

For those who know about Craigslist, it is a great place to sell locally, especially for large items that would be expensive to ship.

Sold everything I ever listed.

Great site for liquidating stale and/or low dollar inventory.

I sell a lot on Craigslist, but to get that ONE real customer, I have to weed through way too many scammers or bots, or real people. Other than that, it is great. But THAT is the one reason I dont rate it a 10.

Craigslist is great for selling garage sale style items. You can’t sell E-commerce items without having the right niche. I do look for items to buy here, but selling is a different matter.

Craigslist is the easiest site of all to list. The fact that I don’t have to pay any fees is a big plus. Of course the only downside is that it is basically for local sales though I have in fact shipped to people. I have never had a transaction go south. I’ve never had reason to call or write customer service which is why I rated it a 7 on both those questions since I really don’t have an answer.

Craigslist is my go-to venue for bulky, hard-to-ship items and certain household / kids items for which I think it is better for the buyer to see and try them on.

I’ve only had to contact Craigslist once and never received a response. But the site is easy to use and definitely helps with selling larger items (furniture, cars, etc) at no cost to the seller. Great to advertise yard sales, especially good for our rural setting.

I only use Craigslist for real estate. It’s a great sales channel.

I sell larger local pickup items from time to time on Craigslist. Items seem to sell quickly there.

Craigslist is a good place to sell furniture and appliances.

Great to sell BIG items on that you don’t want to ship NO selling fees are great!

Have sold many things thru this venue. You keep ALL your sales. You do have to be careful you don’t get skunked. I’ve been very successful.

Craigslist is excellent for selling used items that you’d like to have picked up locally. Like if you have an old table and think it’s worth a few bucks, Craigslist is much better than leaving it on the sidewalk. But since the sale is usually through in-person pickups and cash, you need to be more cautious of scams and make sure to meet in a public place if you’re skeptical of the meeting. Overall, great site for certain used items!

We raise mixed Nubian dairy goats. Almost all of our sales in 2018 came via Craigslist. I’d definitely use it again and definitely recommend it. I opt for using the Craigslist relay for communication with prospective buyers – I DO NOT recommend posting your personal phone number or email address on Craigslist.

Profitability is high because, obviously, the site is free. I would have rated it a 10, but some profit is lost in time taken up by flakes, weirdos and scammers. Customer service, of course, is nonexistent.

Craigslist is great if you have large items that you want to sell and don’t mind having people come to your home to sell. For my antique jewelry sales I would rather skip the face-to-face contact.

A great way to sell used item locally if you are willing to put up with the bargain hunters.

I’ve never communicated with customer service from Craigslist. Not even sure if they have it.

There are no tools or anything else for sellers to use to promote or gather metrics. It’s free and there is a lot of traffic but with no integrated shipping or other tools it’s clunky.

Craigslist was better when the fees were minimal. Now that there’s is a listing fee, Craiglist is not as attractive. Craigslist rates more as a want ads versus a marketplace.

Craigslist is great, especially for large items at a deal price – sometimes even fine / antique / high priced items! …but there is always the fear factor with Craigslist.

As a dealer in unique collectibles, Craigslist only works for me for items that can be targeted as “local interest”. Generally speaking, Craiglist customers seem to be looking for items sold for less than cost.

Although Facebook Marketplace has sort of taken over as the new Craigslist, I have never had a problem with this site. You just have to “feel” out the buyer. Instincts play a huge roll here! 😀

It’s hard to compare Craigslist to any of these other platforms, because it’s not the same. You use the others to sell items to ship all over, CL for local transactions only. I’ve used it to sell a few large pieces and advertise garage sales. It’s good for that.

When we moved, we listed our large items we would not be moving with us on Craigslist. All sold or some were listed under free and we gave them away. The main thing I do not like about Craigslist is having to wait for people to show up and so many no-shows. Also uncomfortable about meeting up with people.

I only use Craigslist for large items that would be too big or heavy to ship. The few times I’ve had to use Craigslist I managed to get my asking price or a fair price for what I was selling. As long as you are smart about using it and can put up with the no-shows and low-ballers, it’s a great site to use.

Very easy to use but lack of access via phone app makes communications difficult.

You get a lot of ‘tire kickers’ contacting you, but I have had good success selling on Craigslist.

Craigslist is easy, but you also have to figure the “stranger danger” impact because much of the time, you are meeting people in person.

They are very basic and you get a lot of people responding for the hell of it. Very few actual buyers!

It’s the wild wild west, almost anything goes. Interface is 1990s

There is no communication with Craigslist. They have no customer service to speak of. Either you understand the platform or you don’t. Don’t even think about getting any help or advice from them, won’t happen.

Craigslist seems to attract a lot of people who don’t show up to purchase after they say they will.

People are flaky and trying to meet up is tough. Plus most people on Craigslist are trying to buy things at yard sale pricing.

It’s dead. Too many ads are scammers or misleading and Craigslist is not cleaning it up. Too many buyers are scammers (the old, “not in area but I’ll send driver with money order bit”) or don’t bother to show up. Almost as useful as running a newspaper classified ad.

I try to gain exposure. Craigslist removes my listings – waste of time making listings only to have them removed.

It’s a good site, easy to navigate, but it’s becoming overrun with weirdos – might need more regulation somehow. But then again that’s part of what makes it a good place to sell, so who knows.

Seems that Craigslist buyers are not as likely to follow up plus LOTS of SPAM if you reply w/ your real email or phone from scammers.

Low profitability, but it’s FREE. Prob with Craigslist is that it’s preset to local. I have to adjust to get a wider range of scope.

Obviously, no fees is nice. The only issue I have with Craigslist is safety. It’s not comfortable having strangers come to my home.

To many scammers and no real way for some customers to pay that is secure

Every time we tried to list something for sale, a competitor would ‘Flag’ it and take it down for no other reason than we’re competition. Finally gave up bothering. Every now and again we pay for the $5 ads that stay up, but we don’t really track what calls come off there with questions. We would sell through the website anyone that calls. You put a proper seller portal on there, tell us about it, and we might use.

This site is alright, but items are forgotten just too quickly. You have to work too hard for this site to work for you.

Just the meeting people part. People are late, flaky and sometimes scary.

Very easy to use, customer interaction is a negative for many reasons, including face to face meetings.

I view CL as a self-serve type market. Have not had to contact customer service. Lower rating as referral seller venue due to possible safety concerns associated with face to face transactions.

Most buyers want to pay pennies on the dollar at Craigslist. I mainly use it to advertise for other sites because sales are almost nonexistent.

Craigslist is really hit or miss. So easy to use, but not reliable customer base and it is really hit and miss whether the buyer actually shows up.

I have had success in selling items on Craigslist, although sometimes it takes a bit of time. There is no customer service on Craigslist that I can see. I have had ads mistakenly pulled, and no way to contact CS help.

Too many trolls on Craigslist. As soon as anything is listed the trolls come out with false inquiries trying to unload “.exe” files in bogus emails. Craigslist needs to clean up its site.

Craigslist has switched to a paid model for most categories and the fees they want are exorbitant for the visibility provided. I would only consider using Craigslist to sell a used automobile or another very difficult-to-ship appliance.

I don’t like using Craigslist. It’s not very user-friendly, in my opinion, and the responses I get from my ads are mostly spam messages having nothing to do with interest in buying my items.

Craigslist seems to be frequented by “low end” shoppers (not much money) and buyers who will only purchase when prices are VERY low. Additionally, there’s LOTS of flaky people; about 50 -60% of contacts result in non-performance (not honoring commitments, backing out of deals, trying to manipulate the seller, etc.). Be prepared to get very credible responses to most offerings.

Craigslist is a good selling site, but customer service is lacking hard to get answers and cannot talk to anyone so if something does not list or is taken down you have no idea who what where or why. People report your listing and Craigslist seems to just take it down without much investigation let alone explanation to you as a seller.

Their biggest fault is that they do not leave your items active until you remove them or they sell. I get real tired of always having to renew or re-install my items for sale there because they will have them expire sooner than the first time of showing it.

Craigslist new spam detection algorithms are automatically marking and deleting a large number of valid/legitimate postings in error. Very frustrating to have to try to figure out how to repost items without them getting automatically deleted.

90% of the time the buyer doesn’t show up. When they do it is great.

The flagging option by users needs to be abolished and should only be used to report listings to Craigslist staff if listings truly violate laws and or are offensive that they should check. If they want to charge fees to only sellers not owners they should police their own site themselves! With so many not paying that are businesses. Sellers these days run businesses out of their homes so what is really the difference between home sellers or brick and mortar sellers? We are all sellers. I would never pay for an ad on this site. This site needs a good tweeking or mass flagging.

Requiring users to meet rather than ship items by mail is the most discouraging part. There seems to be little trust between seller and buyer. I sold one item to a buyer in New Hampshire about 30 miles away one time. I referred him to my eBay 100% rating and he agreed to pay by PayPal and I sent him his purchase and made sure he received it by following the tracking provided. Craigslist seems to have attracted ripoff sellers and spoiled a whole marketing opportunity for honest sellers.

I ONLY use Craigslist for placing ads, to drive buyers to my brick-and-mortar store space. I list items with directions and store hours for them to come in. I do not have much of a way to know how effective these ads are but they are free and do not take much time. I would NEVER advertise on CL to have buyers come to my home. I like that CL provides an intermediary contact procedure so my real email address does not have to appear in any of the ads.

I used to love using Craigslist, and it brought in a few new customers to my brick-and-mortar gift shop. They have started charging $3 per listing for businesses now, and so I no longer can count on it to help me. Now, I only list a few items that are my own goods because I do not believe in trying to cheat the system like some others said to do.

Sellers Choice Awards:
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the Sellers Choice Awards, please feel free to post them below.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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