If you unwrapped a brand-new iPhone or Fitbit over the holidays, what are you going to do with your old device?
Or perhaps you treated yourself to a shiny new digital single-lens reflex camera or mirrorless camera on Black Friday and so you no longer need to hold onto your Canon Rebel T5i from 2013.
Understandably, many turn to apps and the web to sell used or unwanted tech.
After all, not only will you help declutter your home by getting rid of gadgets you don’t have any use for, but chances are you’re able to use that extra cash to pay down the big credit card bills you may be facing later in January.
You’ve got a few ways to unload your stuff: online classifieds sites (like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace), peer-to-peer marketplaces (like eBay) and an increasingly popular option is selling to a platform that gives you cash to take tech off your hands and they may resell it to someone looking for a deal. Examples include Decluttr and Gazelle for mobile phones and MacBooks and MPB for camera gear.
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“Frankly, a lot of people are surprised at the value that they can get out of their used tech, especially photo and video equipment,” says Tammy Oler, Head of Brand Marketing for MPB in North America.
“There’s often an ‘Antiques Roadshow’ kind of reaction, where people get their quote back and they’re like ‘Oh wow, I had no idea it would be worth this much,’” adds Oler. “You’re also helping to put this in the hands of someone who could appreciate spending less on your used gear, which we first inspect and guarantee.”
The following is a closer look at each of the three main ways to sell your tech online, with tips to maximize your experience on each one:
Not new, but many turn to online classifieds sites and apps to find a buyer for their unwanted tech.
With platforms like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji (popular in Canada), you can post your listing for free and hope to find a buyer in your area.
You’ll usually meet in person for the transaction, so be careful when doing so; only meet in public places, during the day and perhaps bring a friend along. Obviously, selling larger items, like a TV, is a different story, so make sure other adults are home with you.
Only accept cash, not a check. The buyer will understandably want to inspect what you’re selling, so ensure it’s all powered up and include as much of the original packaging, documentation and accessories (like charging cables).
For your post, try to make it stand out from the rest. Use some eye-catching words in your headline, perhaps phrases like “REDUCED PRICE” or “MINT QUALITY,” as examples. Take good photos of what you’re selling and be as descriptive about the product as you can, to avoid any frustration during the selling process, including the model number and condition of the product.
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My favorite online classifieds tip is to maximize your reach, which you can do in two (free) ways. One is to post many listings for the same product but in a different category. For example, a Bluetooth speaker can be listed in Audio, Electronics, Smartphone Accessories and Home. Since it’s free, simply copy and paste the text and perhaps tweak the headline, description, or photos.
You can also post to different nearby neighborhoods: while you’re selecting a specific city to post your listing, also post to a few surrounding suburbs to increase the odds of your ad being seen.
Some online classified sites let you pay a little to bump your listing up higher on the page.
Compared to online classified sites, the benefit to a huge marketplace, like eBay, is you’re catering to potential buyers across the entire country – or even internationally – opposed to only locally.
Once someone buys (or successfully bids on) the gadget you’re selling, you’ll ship it to them, which you should do shortly after selling it, to ensure the buyer is happy – and will likely give you a good review (if happy with the product too), which helps your seller reputation and hopefully leads to repeat business from the same buyer.
Reviews and star ratings are incredibly important on marketplaces.
As for how much to sell your item, make sure your item is competitively priced as shoppers are comparing your item to others. A tip is to offer free shipping – even if you must increase the product price a bit, you’ll likely sell it faster.
When buyers show interest in your product but haven’t yet completed the transaction, eBay suggests leveraging its Offer to Buyers tool, which allows you to initiate the negotiation process with potential buyers. You can make an offer to a buyer if they are watching your item or have placed it into their shopping cart but haven’t checked out within a few days.
To increase the odds of selling your item quickly, think of the time of year it is and offload things people want. Sell your camping gear in the summer and not in the dead of winter. Christmas items will do better in early December than in March. You get the idea.
Interestingly, eBay says Sunday is the busiest day for purchases, followed by Saturday and Monday.
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Sell your tech to a platform
Opposed to a “peer-to-peer” approach, where you need to find a buyer and transact with them, a crop of sites offer to buy your used tech directly, which might be more ideal for those who don’t have a lot of time on their hands to sell it directly to someone else (and with classifieds, meet them in person for the transaction).
These same platforms sell used tech to those who might otherwise not be able to afford a brand-new device at retail.
In other words, it’s a win-win for both parties, not to mention the “circular economy” is also a boon for the environment, since it focuses on reusing, repairing, refurbishing and repurposing older or unwanted electronics.
Like Decluttr does for smartphones, MacBooks and game consoles, MPB asks sellers to fill out an online form to get an instant quote on photography and videography gear, before packaging it up and sending to its Brooklyn, New York, facility (via secured Fedex, paid for by MPB).
You’ll need to specify the make, model and condition of what you’re looking to sell – camera bodies, lenses, filters and accessories – which will then be inspected and verified by a team of camera experts.
MPB, the “world’s largest online platform specializing in used photo and video equipment,” says Oler, will then deposit the money into the seller’s bank account.
“While it’s more of an emotional thing, it’s important to us that sellers know the gear you may have used and loved and perhaps have done some fantastic work with, is getting into the hands of somebody else who, in turn, is going to do something really interesting with it,” adds Oler.
MPB says any used items purchased by others, including trade-ins, are covered by a six-month limited warranty.