Online peer-to-peer marketplace sites have made it easier than ever for private individuals to turn a quick buck selling unwanted items. Whether on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or some other platform, you can list and sell virtually any product you own with just the click of a few buttons.

For the entrepreneurial-minded, an online resale business can quickly become a lucrative side business, especially if you bargain-hunt at yard sales, thrift stores or flea markets. If you’re considering becoming a private online reseller, here are some things to keep in mind and advice to help you succeed along the way. Happy selling! 

Establishing a good reputation as an honest, trustworthy seller is important for an online business. Even if you’re not looking to cultivate repeat business, reviews and user ratings reflect on you in such a way that could either encourage or discourage future business.

“Make sure to list the condition of all your items, even if they are excellent with no flaws; buyers want to know that,” said Heidi Ferguson, a vintage seller who uses several platforms. “Fill out your shop profile and shipping policies completely. This gives buyers a feel [as] to who you are and further insures trust.”

Moreover, completely describing the condition of the products you’re selling can prevent returns, which quickly eat into your profits and demand more of your time and attention.

“Make sure you describe the condition of the items well upfront,” Ariel M. Ruggeri, a six-year eBay seller, told Business News Daily. “If you don’t describe it well and the buyer would like a refund, it’s a huge hassle and waste of time and money to have them ship it back and resell it again.”

You can further protect yourself from returns and dissatisfied buyers by including multiple high-quality photos in your listing. Generally, the more photos you include, the better. Beyond informing buyers of the condition of the product, it boosts your listing in search results.

“Use seven to 10 pictures in your listings. You’ll get more visibility and credibility from potential buyers,” Ferguson said, adding that it’s important to optimize your virtual storefront for mobile devices. “Always check your shop from multiple electronic devices to make sure to see what a buyer sees.”

A word of warning is to avoid copying a photo of the product you’re selling from the internet. Post high-quality photos of the actual item you are selling; otherwise, you run into trouble with buyers for even slight differences.

“Take really good photos and never ever right-click and steal photos from Google images,” said Gari Anne Kosanke, an online seller who runs Bead Lovers Korner on multiple platforms. “Taking good photos will make listings unique and provide potential customers with a good visual so they won’t be upset or disappointed when they receive the merchandise.”

Online selling can sometimes feel like a personal endeavor, but, remember, you’re running a business. If you don’t think you can turn a substantial profit, it might be better leaving that cool item on the shelf. The mantra for successful sellers is always, “buy low, sell high.”

“I always ask myself one question: Can I double my money?” Ruggeri said. “If you come across [a] great product [to resell] but it’s overpriced, walk away!”

It’s also important to document your business so you can track what is flowing in and out. Like any other business, budgeting and tracking income and costs is key to really understanding how well you’re doing, and can help you adjust your strategy accordingly.

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