I have used most every platform there is (or was) at one time or another in the more than 25 years I have been reselling online. Some have been far more useful than others, obviously, such as eBay or Amazon. The big bulk of our sales do come from those two sites and always have, but I do still make a substantial amount of revenue from other, smaller and more specialized sites.
Growth of my business is always the goal, and any move that I can make that will accomplish that goal I will always try.
One of the best ways to grow a business is to broaden its reach and footprint, which has been best accomplished, for me, through cross-listing my items on to other platforms. Over the years I have tried every platform that looked viable to determine which ones were worth my time and effort. I found that some sites did not offer me a return on my investment, or time. The platform may have lacked overall site traffic, or the customer base was a totally different demographic than what was needed to sell my items. In those cases, I simply stopped using them, and moved on to the next site.
Through trial and error, I have figured out which sites work best for the vast majority of what I sell. Each site offers different challenges and options. Some sites offer the ability to sell items across a broad spectrum of categories, while others are very specialized. A site’s usefulness will vary depending on what a person is selling. Specialized sites like Discogs, which offers music related items only, or HipPostcard, which mostly offers postcards and paper items, have been well worth using for me, but will not be very useful to resellers that do not sell those types of items.
Some sites offer unique options that in some cases can outweigh the reach and site traffic of a much bigger platform, such as eBay or Amazon. Craigslist, for example, offers me the ability to sell items locally and free of charge. Craigslist does not charge a fee to list or sell your items, which is a big plus for those resellers on a fixed budget, or those wanting a cheap alternative site to cross-list their items.
I can also ship items from the site, but I have found that option to be a waste of my time. The majority of the items I sell would do far better on eBay or Amazon, due to much higher site traffic on those platforms. We have done extremely well selling very specific items on Craigslist, such as larger items I would never want to ship.
I also use the site to liquidate large bulk lots of items that just are not worth my time selling any other way. I frequently purchase large bulk lots of records, sometimes numbering into the tens of thousands of individual discs. Most will not be worth listing, and I will simply pop them up on Craigslist and get rid of them that way. More often than not, just a few minutes after I have posted an item for sale on the site it has already sold.
The only hard part of selling on Craigslist is meeting someone to exchange the items for the payment. It can be scary for some, but if it is handled correctly it should not be of concern. I will only meet someone at the local police department parking lot (in broad daylight) on a weekday, between the hours of 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. I find that is always the safest time and place for any sort of meet up with someone I do not know. In my local area, most police and sheriff’s offices encourage people to use their parking lots, out of safety concerns for these types of meet ups.
Facebook is another option for those wanting to expand their business. Just like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace allows you to list all of your items free of charge. But you will be required to pay a 5% fee based on your sale price if any of your items sell on the platform. (Editor’s note: as commenters noted, the fee is temporarily waived, so please be aware fees will resume. We’ve added a link to more information.)
There are far more tools on Facebook than Craigslist to help your business grow. You have the ability to promote your items through ads, and social media, which can be very useful when just starting out. These are paid services and will cost you money to use them.
Facebook Marketplace’s usefulness will depend on what you are selling, just like on any other site. I find that home goods, large items, bulk lots, and holiday-related items sell best on the platform.
Facebook offers both local pickup and shipping options straight through the platform, but I do far better with just using the local pickup options, just like I do on Craigslist. Vintage and collectibles just don’t seem to have enough interest or traffic to make the site useful for me with those sorts of items.
One last aspect I cannot forget to mention is that you can also buy merchandise to resell off of both platforms. Throughout the years I have purchased some astounding items from both sites that have made me vast amounts of money. It is always nice to be able to buy and sell off of the very same site. It makes my investment in a platform far more productive.
Craigslist and Facebook have both been very useful for me and have helped to grow my business and revenue. It did take me some time to figure out what sells best for me on each platform, but it was well worth my time, and investment. So, if you are looking for a new platform to cross-list, or try, you may want to consider both of these sites.