A few (or a lot) of useful thoughts and pointers that I have learned from selling online and on instagram...
Be warned, these thoughts could be scattered. I have been keeping a running list of things I've learned and things I think you should know if you shop resale online or on instagram. Hopefully this post is beneficial for both sellers and buyers...I will try to keep it focused and I will really try to not make it a rant :) Here we go...!
1) Keep the contents of your purse inside a smaller zipper bag(s)
WHY: You will keep the inside of your bag so much cleaner if you avoid letting the contents of your purse directly touch the lining of your bag.
You think you're careful, but there is not a lock on your lipstick to keep it from magically coming open, your gum WILL crawl out of it's wrapper and crumble itself into the floor of your handbag, your pens WILL go undercover DaVinci on you when you're not looking, and your makeup WILL give the interior of your hard-earned investment an irreversible makeover that you were not expecting. These things just WILL happen. If you ever want to resell your bag you do not want to have to say that it is in perfect condition *except* for the interior. People who buy bags from me ALWAYS want to see the interior of the bag and you are letting the value drop heavily by not keeping your bags clean on the inside.
2) Keep the Tags
WHY: Keeping the tags (whether they are attached or not) gives you the retail value of the item, the style name (which is helpful if you need to find a stock photo of your item), and it helps to reassure your buyer of the item's authenticity
3) Keep Your Shoe Boxes
WHY: Similar to the idea of keeping your tags, if your means of selling an item is taking photos of it, having a picture with the box just helps. I also feel strongly that all shoes should be stored in their original boxes. The photo above is my current "20-something's" way of storing my shoes in boxes, but ideally, I would have a wall in my closet with shoe box-sized cubby holes big enough to store all my shoes. Or at least my good ones. Keeping them separated and not lying on top of each other will help them to keep their shape and keep them from damaging other shoes by rubbing against one another. It is always more valuable to a buyer to have the shoes are shipped in their original box. **Sellers** if you are offering a pair of shoes shipped in their original box- you need to consider that in your asking price. Remember that this is something that a buyer appreciates AND it will definitely cost you more to ship the shoes in their original box.
4) Don't Cut the Tags Out of Clothing
WHY: When you cut the tags out of your clothing you are doing several things. First, you are lowering the value of your item because now you cannot guarantee a buyer of the brand. Secondly, you are making it much more difficult to figure out what the material is. Some people are allergic to fabrics like wool, for example, and if you can't guarantee that the item is/isn't wool, you could likely be losing a sale. This is a specific problem with athletic wear pieces from Lululemon. Yes, I know the tags are long and annoying. I'll give you that. However, guessing a Lululemon size is tough. I have gotten much better at it, but because those sizes run small, it is important for a buyer to know the actual size. I know some people are more sensitive to clothing tags than others. If you are sensitive, try taping over the tag with something or, if you must cut them out, save clothing tags like you would the price tags!
5) Own a Tape Measure
WHY: If you buy from a seller who includes measurements for all of their items, be thankful! Not all sellers do this, and those who do spend a LOT of time doing it. My thoughts behind offering measurements, material, condition and retail value are that if I can minimize the questions for a buyer, a sale will happen faster and the buyer will make a more confident purchase. But back to the point...if you are a customer in this situation, you should either own your own tape measure or you should know your measurements so that you can judge for yourself how the item will fit you. I do my best to help customers figure out if an item will fit or not, but my opinion is not the law, and it is always a huge bummer when I think that something will fit a customer well and then it doesn't. My point: buy a tape measure and be able to compare the measurements offered by a seller with clothing from your own closet!
6) Sellers: ACCEPT RETURNS
I don't have a photo to go with this one, and I'll keep this as concise as I can. Sellers, you need to offer returns. (Or consider it, at least) // This is how the world works. Any of your customers could shop at any other store and be able to return an item that does not work for them. Not to mention that at any other store they would probably have the option of trying the piece on before they purchase it. Because there is no way for your online customers to try something on before they buy it, to me, it only makes sense to allow them to return an item if it does not work. Sellers, I 100% understand why you don't. Is that a pain in the neck for sellers? Yes, a huge pain. I'll be honest. But it is a customer service aspect that goes so, so far.
I want to talk about some exceptions to this....if the item is on sale, I do not always offer returns. Shoppers, if you pay $10-$20 for an item, you should probably make that purchase knowing that you're going to keep it whether it works or not. Shoppers, please keep in mind what and who you are dealing with-- we are small businesses, not Nordstrom. For the love, please do not make a purchase just to try it on or wear it once and then return it. Instagram sellers only have one of each item they sell. When you "take it off the rack" without strong intentions to keep it, it is likely that you are costing your seller a sale.
If any of my customers who return items now and then are reading this and getting self-conscious, I will say that this has never been a problem for me and I am never bothered when someone needs to return something!
7) Final Thoughts
-If you ask a question on instagram about an item or have your seller send you additional photos of something- GET BACK TO THEM. Although I am always happy to do it, it is frustrating to go out of your way to measure, photograph something, or answer a question and get no response from the customer. Even if it is a "no" just let us know!
-Pay your invoice ASAP! Instagram is not an organized website where things drop off and repopulate themselves once they are sold or returned. It is easy to miss comments and even easier to feel like a crazy person trying to track customers and payments down. If you are on a payment plan- stick to the agreed upon plan and payment schedule. If you claim something, be prepared to pay for an item quickly after an invoice is sent.
-Sellers, charge for shipping. I am not sure if everyone looks at the details of the financials on a monthly basis, but shipping costs add up and making a professionally functioning post is a lot of work. Not to mention, you have to BUY your supplies. For me, this includes, polymailers, clear water resistant bags for items shipped in boxes, decorative tape, tissue paper, logo tags, and logo stickers. Consider how much time you put into preparation for a post as well as packaging and don't feel badly about charging accordingly. I have, of course, come down on prices before (I'm not unreasonable or heartless) but my customers are extremely understanding of this and hardly ever contest my asking prices or what I charge for shipping.
Ok, y'all, I think that's it! I sincerely hope that this post is helpful for shoppers and sellers alike. I also hope you know that this post idea was not born out of frustration, I was way more excited about sharing the tips! I have so much fun operating my website and instagram page and I feel lucky that doing so is also my full time job. I have the best customers ever and I am surrounded by some extremely incredible sellers as well. I love this little online community and feel so grateful to be a part of it!
If you have any questions please feel free to email me at Bethany@Bethanysstyleaisle.com