Oh, the weird and wonderful business of buying and selling secondhand goods online. A market once cornered by Ebay and Craigslist, virtual resale sites and apps are a booming business, some as virtual garage sales and others as niche marketplaces. Here's the lowdown on five popular sites and apps and please jump in with your favorites (and not-so-favorites) in the comments!
The lowdown: The cPro+ Craigslist Mobile Client is a well-reviewed app that lets you take Craigslist on the road. If you're familiar with the Craigslist website, the app follows the same general format.
Usability: Attractive interface that is easier to search than the Craigslist website. Allows you to filter searches by specific category and location (down to neighborhood). You can reply to posters by texting/calling or emailing directly through the app. The app sends notifications when new items are added that meet your search criteria, and a GPS auto location feature helps users locate nearby items "now", in real time.
$$$: It's free to list, and Craigslist takes no cut of your sales as it is purely seller-to-buyer.
Things to note: Overall reviews are positive. Some users felt the in-app purchase does not deliver accurate push notifications. As with the Craigslist website, there is a user beware element and some reviewers noted instances of buyers and sellers flaking out or acting in a misleading fashion.
The lowdown: Chairish is a resale site and app specifically designed for gently used (largely designer) furniture and home decor.
Usability: An attractive, easy-to-browse interface is set up like a traditional shopping site, which makes searching for items fun and fast. Sellers can receive and respond to verified offers from phone, email or seller dashboard. Buyers and sellers can arrange for local pick-up or Chairish will arrange for delivery (though those fees can be steep).
$$$: Listing is free and items can be de-listed by seller at any time, though it's important to mention that Chairish takes a 20% commission.
Things to note: The site does not accept all pieces that are uploaded by sellers. They may reject an item due to condition or style of piece (e.g., if an item is in poor condition or they have too many of a certain item at one time).
The lowdown: Tradesy is a website and mobile app that specializes in resale of gently used designer handbags, shoes, clothing, and accessories.
Usability: The interface is stylish and easy to use, and feels like an online retail experience, rather than a consignment shop. For sellers, Tradesy crops and edits uploaded images to enhance display.
$$$: It's free to list items, and there are no time limits on listings, though Tradesy takes a 9% commission if you spend earnings on the Tradesy site but takes an 11.9% commission if you choose to withdraw earnings from site.
Things to note: The user base is on the smaller side, which means a smaller audience of potential buyers.
The lowdown: 5Miles is the overall highest-rated online garage-sale style marketplace. It allows users to quickly and safely buy and sell items locally (everything from clothing and small household items to cars, furniture and electronics).
Usability: Use the GPS feature and/or your zip code to find filtered items (by your search terms) near you. Make offers via text and negotiate prices in real-time text conversation. 5Miles allows sellers to share items for sale via Facebook, Twitter and email.
$$$: Free to list items. The site considers itself an online forum to list and negotiate.
Things to note: Users have noted that the desktop interface is much less user-friendly than the mobile experience. Similar to Craigslist, the local component is ideal when the transaction runs smoothly, but some users have noted issues with being "stood up" or buyers "flaking out". Can be difficult to rescind an offer on an item you no longer wish to buy.
The lowdown: OfferUp has been called the "safer Craigslist" by USA Today due to its use of TruYou, a personal identification validation system.
Usability: Transactions occur via an interface with usernames only, so phone numbers and emails remain private for both sellers and buyers. You can set up push notifications to be alerted when an offer is made on an item. It's easy to check on the status of items as a seller, buyer or watcher.
$$$: Free to sell and OfferUp takes no commission.
Things to note: Sellers give the app high ratings for ease of use; simply upload images using your phone and create a brief description. The online garage sale component = lots of junk to sift through even after applying filters. Users beware: There is no customer service component and some reviews complain of both buyers and sellers flaking out or acting in a misleading fashion.