Do's & Don'ts of Selling Stuff Over the Internet

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The Internet provides a selling tool for personal items or items you buy at garage sales or auctions. You can make a decent profit on the sales if you understand how to list and market the items. Understanding the fee structure of the particular selling site you use is key to coming out ahead on the transaction. Have a solid plan in mind before you list an item for sale online.

Do Define Terms

  • Establish the terms of the sale before you post the advertisement online. By laying out your policies on sales being final, returns and shipment methods, potential buyers know what to expect ahead of time. They have less to argue about if they change their minds or want to back out of the transaction. If you set up your own online store, establish site-wide policies that apply to all of your merchandise. Post the policy prominently on the site.

Do Provide Accurate Descriptions and Photos

  • Buyers want to know exactly what they are getting. To avoid losing customers before they even finish the item description, take time to write it clearly and accurately. Describe exactly what the item is, what it looks like and how it works. Avoid unnecessary descriptors like "cute" or "amazing". A photo is also key in keeping clients on the page. Many buyers will go elsewhere to buy a similar item if you don't include a picture so they can see the item they are agreeing to buy. The picture should be clear and easy to see with the item you're selling as the focal point. Zoom in as much as possible to highlight the item. Take photos from different angles if appropriate.

Do Provide Excellent Customer Service

  • The way you treat customers reflects upon you as a person and your business if you plan to continue selling items online. When using online auction sites, customers are able to leave feedback about the transaction. A low feedback score may scare off future customers. If you're selling from your own site, you are more likely to get repeat customers or referrals from past customers if you provide high-quality customer service.

Don't Deceive Buyers

  • Deceiving buyers is a quick way to lose business. Don't embellish your description or downplay flaws in a product. If you're selling a used item, be honest about the condition and list any problems with the item. This allows customers to know what they are getting without feeling like they were tricked into buying the item. You also leave yourself open to disputes and complaints from unhappy customers.

Don't Sell Without Keeping Records

  • You need to keep accurate records of items you sell, especially if you're doing it as a business. Keep a copy of each item you list and sell, include the description and sales information. You will need this information for filing your taxes at the end of the year. You also have accurate tracking of the transactions in case a dispute occurs with a client.

References

  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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