How to sell online in Canada – eBay, Poshmark, whatever platform!
Another question from a reader, this turned into a major post for sure:
Hey Sherry, You mention buying clothes from Ebay and Poshmark. Do you have any experiencing selling clothes/shoes on those platforms? I live in Toronto and I am interested in your experience/tips as a fellow Canadian as most online guides tend to be US-focused. (I did a quick look through your archives and couldn’t find anything so apologies if this is something you’ve covered already!) Thanks, Lauren
I buy a lot on Poshmark and eBay
..but I use American addresses and American accounts (thanks friends!! <3), but I do also buy a lot on eBay.
You CANNOT sell on Poshmark if you are in Canada (I know, womp womp), but the whole list of places you can sell in Canada online are here, aside from eBay:
- VestiaireCollective — very European-based but I have never tried
- TheRealReal — American-based but I have never tried
- ThredUp — Never tried yet
- The UpSide — luxury only and never tried
If there is anything you want to buy on the U.S. (or any country) that won’t ship to Canada, you can use Borderlinx. They’re pricier than having American friends, but an option if you are SET on a piece and NEED to have it.
Now for the selling bit.
I actually used to go into thrift stores, buy items, clean them, and resell them on eBay long before that stuff became cool and a true e-commerce.
All it took was a little sprucing up on the description, and making sure you are doing proper photos, and you could mark up the items a bit.
Have a good title
Describe it exactly and put keywords people search by.
Think to yourself: If I were looking for something like that, how would I describe it?
Put the designer’s name, the product / style number of the item, the sizing in US (for sure) and even in UK or other sizes, plus a generic “Small” or “Medium”, a colour…
Also note if it is:
- NWOT – New without tags
- NWT – New with tags
Be detailed in your listing
When I say detailed, I don’t mean just a few lines:
- Go to the original page where the original item was (if you can, search their archives) and take the description from the retailer site to post it
- Get the proper measurements in inches (people will convert to metric if required) of the neck, the sleeves, the torso, the hems, etc
- Describe the colour accurately versus what you see on the screen or in photos
- Describe the fit – how you wore it, how it hangs on you, where it hits
- Describe the feel and fabric – not all silk or polyester is made the same. Some polyester feels amazing and some silk feels like crap.
- Have a fun description! — How you would style it, wear it, etc.
- If it was worn before, call it “pre-loved and well cared for”.
- Be careful to list out all the flaws – stains, holes, rips, ANYTHING.
Have lots of well-lit, properly-done photos
If I can take “good” shots with my iPod Touch that has a 4MP camera, you can do miracles on yours, I am sure.
What people want to see is properly done photos.
Some tips to great shots:
- Use a white or neutral wall as the background – some people hang up a hook and place the clothing on a hanger than hang it on the wall to take a shot
- Use a lot of natural light if possible – artificial light casts a strange shadow, glare and tint
- Take multiple shots and close-ups of the flaws but also the cool details
- Put markers of size beside things – if it is jewellery for instance, put a quarter beside the item so people can visually see how big it is
Have a consistent template
Before you start selling, create a template of main headers you need to cover such as:
- Environment the item is kept in – are there pets? non-smoking? clean?
- Payment – for instance if you only take Paypal for instance
- Shipping – do you ship only in Canada, U.S., internationally?
- Returns / Refunds – Do you offer this policy?
Consider your price carefully
Consider shipping costs within Canada and internationally
That is usually extra on top of the purchase price.
I have SUCH a problem with this, I always underestimate shipping because it is so dang hard to figure out what things will cost.
You can do a lot of estimating online and so on, but the best way is truly to pack it up, take it to the post office, get it weighed and get the list of prices.
Once you have those guidelines it might be easier.
I have started just adding a 20% bump to the shipping price to cover anything, and if the difference is too high, I refund them.
Go to Canada Post, and get an idea of what it costs to ship these items, and then add a few dollars more on top to compensate for materials for instance. You may need to buy boxes (or not).
Go creatively frugal on the packaging
Save money on the packaging. Find old boxes from old returns (I keep a lot of these clean, good boxes when we buy online), bubble wrap, tissue paper, anything that is hard to buy in small amounts, and squirrel them away for this exact occasion.
Think about using envelopes (padded or not) to mail these things – for jewellery, t-shirts, all of this stuff went into envelopes, and then was taped within an inch of its life.
I am the Queen of this stuff. I really LOATHE paying for packaging when it will just get ripped up and tossed.
Think about a nice card to thank them
If you want to make this a business, or just go the extra mile. I am not a fan of this personally because I hate excess packaging even in cards and ribbons, etc… but this is something I know people appreciate.
Sign up for the Small Business Card at Canada Post
It is a card you will receive in the mail with your business name on it. I actually keep the card at home and just make a note of the number and take a photo of it to keep in my Stocard app (I went minimalist on my wallet).
You can even get discounts when you ship, FREE PAID SHIPPING promotions (YES REALLY) and much more.
I use this card all the time when I ship – you have to show it JUST BEFORE you start your transactions or else you can’t get a discount on your shipments.
Remember customs and duties!
Shipping from Canada anywhere outside of Canada means you need to fill out a customs and duties form.
The one for the U.S. is pretty big and extensive / comprehensive, but everywhere else, it’s this tiny little slip of paper.
You can ask Canada Post for a stack of them ahead of time to store at home and pre-fill out leisurely before you get to the post office so you are not frantically writing down addresses while people are glaring at you in line.
I would also suggest getting a list of what is ALLOWED to ship and what is NOT allowed to ship to what places. Liquids I know, are on the kibosh as of late.
A lot of stuff is only insured up to $100
Again, if your stuff is pricey, factor in insurance for up to that amount and make sure you put it as an option in the listing.
If the buyer CHOOSES to FOREGO insurance, they assume responsibility for its loss (if ever).
I also really like tracking numbers but they bump up the price by $10 – $20 :-/
Tracking numbers I would put as mandatory in your listing for anything over $250 in value.
You want to be sure it gets there and they (some buyers) don’t lie and say they never got it. You have actual proof in this case.
Don’t bother selling the mainstream brands
Unless you do a “lot” sale (as in 5 tops in one listing), mainstream stuff, unless it is children / baby gear, is NOT WORTH SELLING.
Anything under I’d say $20 is not worth listing. It takes a LOT of time to list and track items, and is it worth it to earn $2 for all the time and hassle put in?
Designer stuff does much better, or at least fancier high street stuff like Coach, J. Crew, and so on. Or rare pieces from those retailers.
But a cheap Gap T-shirt? Forget it. Donate it, and get a tax deduction instead.
Be careful with sites like Kijiji, Craig’sList VarageSale or LesPac
People can be great and good, but also scammers.
I post a lot on other sites as mentioned above, but I am always careful to meet in a PUBLIC place, and at a BUSY time and to tell my partner / someone where I am at all times.
Also, if you plan on selling there like on Kijiji which I just discovered lately, and you need to ship something, if they pay via Paypal, you CANNOT send them your straight Paypal address.
You need to write something like:
It is anna679 at a very popular G company that does emailing.
If you put your actual email address it will get filtered and converted into some garbage email address which you can’t use for Paypal.
Not only that, even if you send a SCREENSHOT image of it, they will filter out the email address they see in there and not send the message at all.
This is to not have people scam each other on these sites, but it also blocks and has no alternative for others to pay and buy online via these kinds of sites.
It’s always best to use eBay and Poshmark, but sometimes good people are on Kijiji too (like me!)