Navigating the New Era of Online Selling: A Look at the Top Platforms and My Personal Experience

Craigslist remains a top choice for selling unwanted items, but there are now many new startups offering alternative options. In recent months, I have had personal experience with several companies, both new and locally-based. Here is a list of the companies I have used and my experience with them. Note that this is solely based on my own experience and opinions, but feel free to research them yourself.

1.) Book-Off USA – Westminister City (cd’s, books & other misc. items):

Likes: Locally accessible. Friendly staff and awesome customer service (responded quickly). When visiting the store, customers are required to sign in and may have a short wait before being assisted. During my visit, I was able to shop at the mall while I waited for my turn, which was only around 5-15 minutes. Out of the 20 items I brought in, they accepted 5 and were sold at $1 each. Overall, a great shopping experience with locally accessible location and fantastic customer service.

Dislikes: One downside to this store is that the return value for items sold is not very high. Additionally, they do not have a recycling program in place. These are important factors to consider when selling or trading items.

2.) MoveLoot – L.A. (Furniture):

Likes: Cool concept & easy to navigate. What you do is create a profile online. Go to their selling section and upload your items. Get your ID #, email them that you want to drop off the items you want to sell and include the ID #. You need a value of $200 or more in order for their movers to come and do a pick up. The other option is to drop off the items at their nearest location but, make sure to email them first for a consignor to review your items before you do. That way, you know exactly what they will buy from you.

Dislikes: They currently don’t do any drop-offs in L.A. 😦

3. Crossroads West Hollywood (Apparel, Footwear & Accessories):
Oldie but, a goodie.

Likes: Friendly staff and very organized.

Dislikes: They accept mostly (if, not all) designer labels and parking wasn’t as accessible (except WEHO location).

4. Craigslist (everything): It’s still a top contender for me.

Likes: Quick responses on inquiries regarding sale items and have dealt with a few nice individuals.

Dislikes: A lot of flaky people, disorganized, a few weirdos and some never bothered to respond.

5. ThreadFLIP (clothes & shoes):

Likes: Cool concept. You request on their website for a drop off bag with a paid postage stamp included. Once you receive the bag, you place all of your merchandise in it and then do a pick-up at your location. Simple, convenient and easy. Also, they respond to their emails quickly. You’ll get an answer the minute they receive your merchandise to when you can view your items of what’s being sold online. Lastly, the rest of the merchandise they don’t sell goes to Goodwill (definitely a plus for me).

Dislikes: The time in processing your bag is lengthy, there’s a low return value and the pay-off is solely through Paypal. It takes about a week to receive your money and I never heard from them ever again. No responses via email or a phone call. Sad.

6. Threadup (clothes & shoes):

Likes: same concept as Threadflip. You create an online profile, you request for a bag with a paid postage stamp and you send in your merchandise then, you wait. They send you an email every time they are processing your bag (from receiving your bag to when your merchandise can be viewed online and/or when your payment is being processed).

Dislikes: Time in processing your bag is lengthy. Pay out is through PayPal with 2% fee + 2-3 days for the transaction to go through.

7. Close5 App – FREE (everything): 

Likes: Easy to use & convenient. Create a profile similar to any app that you download. You do a point and shoot through your camera phone. Upload the photos and write a description about the product. Voila! 

Dislikes: The response rate is ok and I haven’t sold anything.

8.  5Miles App – FREE (everything): 

Likes: Easy to use & convenient. Verification requirements. This app works similar to Close5 App where, you create a profile, provide images, upload the photos and write a description. Their competitive advantage is that you can hit the “renew” button to bring your items back to the listing page (thus, increase your view ability). You can review buyers and sellers.

Dislikes: Stating the original price (even your collector’s item that dates back to early 80’s). There were a ton of flakes & weirdos. Also, I’ve had items posted for a month now and have not sold anything. Eventually, I sold my items elsewhere (Craigslist) and I’ve decided to de-activate my profile after 2 weird scenarios. I don’t want to get into it on here but, I didn’t feel comfortable. I ended up de-activating my account. I truly believe that if your instincts gives you a weird vibe about someone, move on.

9. OfferUP App – FREE (everything):

Likes: Same as 5Miles and Close5 apps. You create a profile, snap images, write a description and hit done.

Dislikes: I haven’t sold anything and their UI needs work. It get’s annoying to find the back button to go from one page to the other when viewing a merchandise for sale. It should just be a simple swipe from left to right. Also, I eventually figured out that you have to swipe down in order for the top bar to appear and swipe up to get the bottom bar (rather annoying). It took me a few minutes to get myself oriented around the app. Lastly, I haven’t sold anything.

10. The Last Bookstore (CD’s / Books):

Likes: Local & has a beautiful interior. I say it is one of the hidden gems in L.A.

Dislikes: Parking & low return value.

Take Away:

Selling your unwanted items can be a great way to declutter and make some extra money. Here are some key lessons I’ve learned from my experience:

  • Patience and flexibility are key when it comes to selling items.
  • It’s important to research each company by reading reviews on platforms such as Yelp or Google+. This will give you a better understanding of the services and options each company offers.
  • Safety is a priority when it comes to meeting with potential buyers or sellers. Trust your instincts and if something doesn’t feel right, it’s best to avoid the situation.
  • Be prepared for negotiation on the price of your items. It’s important to set a firm price or indicate that the price is non-negotiable if that is the case.
  • If you’re running out of time to sell your items, a phrase such as “Everything Must Go By (insert date)” can be an effective way to motivate buyers to act quickly.”

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