Looking for more places to sell your stuff? The following post is an adapted excerpt from the ebook Beyond Amazon, eBay, and Etsy: free and low cost alternative marketplaces, shopping cart solutions and e-commerce storefronts.
What are the communities that surround your niche? Do you already connect with other collectors, writers, artists or crafters somewhere? The message boards and other online communities related to what you have to sell can be a powerful place for sales and are easy to overlook. Just be sure to check the rules for trading on each site and learn how they handle trader feedback. There are no costs to sell through community posts and that means more profit for you. By cutting out the middle man, you can connect directly to your customers and fans without any restrictions on cross selling, marketing or shipping time or cost.
Facebook and Twitter are also great opportunities for sales. While there are a wide variety of apps for selling on Facebook especially, peer to peer sales can happen even without the need for any fancy tools. Though you’ll still need to redirect your Twitter users to a physical webpage to place the order, it’s becoming easier and easier to sell directly from a Facebook page or profile.Another advantage of selling directly on fan communities is the ability to trade. Once you take money out of the picture, you open yourself up to the opportunity to trade your items for goods, services and favors from others. Being savvy with how you exchange what you have for what you want can sometimes yield more value than a cash sale. Think outside the box when it comes to trades, it can be a powerful tool for getting otherwise expensive items and work done for only the base cost of your items.Selling through fan communities also requires less marketing since your target audience is already there. But there are downsides to selling peer to peer. Namely,
- There’s no protection for either buyer or seller. If a buyer scams you, you have no recourse unless you have some kind of external payment protection, such as through your credit card processor or a service like PayPal. If you are a newer user to the community and they don’t know you it can also turn off buyers so getting sales can be difficult at first.
- Smaller audience, lower prices. Because they’re going peer to peer, community members often expect better prices from their fellow collectors or artists then from a known retail marketplace. Your items are also only shown to a limited pool of potential buyers (though more targeted) and a small audience means sales can be harder to make, especially at the price you may want. On the other side, without having to pay fees, you may be willing to accept lower prices for some items.
- No fancy tools or features. Some of the niceties you may be used to on a larger marketplace won’t be in this bare bones solution. No bulk listing tools, automatic emails, or other features. It’s usually just text posts with the occasional image though some communities are equipped with something a little more robust.
Of course, you can also just use the fan communities to direct traffic to wherever else you are selling.
Have you successfully bought or sold either in a peer to peer situation or on a message board? What tips would you offer?