Take this next step to a richer life: snap a picture of your old, worn shoes and list them on eBay.
Do this right, there are pounds to be bagged.
- Get a toe into this online marketplace
- Which type of person buys the most 2nd hand shoes?
- What shoe brands sell well?
- Tips to sell your shoes
- Pricing your for-sale shoes
- Where to find more shoes to sell
- Stay safe from scammers, or worse
You can bet your boots on this one: plenty of people are buying pre-loved shoes every day. There are more than one million completed sold listings of used shoes, and of these almost two-thirds were women’s shoes (so, men are shopping as well), and ordinary flats and oxfords make up most of the shoes listed. Right now a pair of Christian Louboutin boots is selling for $950, despite being “worn several times”.
Those that sell the best aren’t the killer 18” platform heels that you would expect or even collector-item sneakers worn by a famous sports star. Rather (and this is how we know used shoes are the new crypto-currency for ordinary people like you and me), the most consistent sellers are practical shoes. Yes, the type that is worn in their thousands on trains and planes, and in similar thousands, discarded as having no real value after the fact.
It’s not just those you see in mint condition in the charity shops that will sell well on eBay, anything that has a little bit of life left in it will be looked at. Thinking about that pile at the bottom of your cupboard? Read on.
Believe it or not, Baby Boomers. Yes, the first to be born with ready access to welfare should they need it in a free NHS hospital, and the first generation to travel abroad – not to fight but to see the sights (and to feel alright).
Now, a little older and with age comes – all too often – foot problems. So the demand for comfortable shoes keeps climbing. As does their price. Herein lies the opportunity as not every Boomer has an old-school hard-currency pension paying out, and they are prepared to take a second look at shoes with a little tread.
In the US, Boomers on Medicare (a federal system of health insurance for those 65 and older) cannot claim the cost of their shoes and so, enter eBay to the rescue. Once again.
If the shoe looks relatively comfortable, it’s going to sell. So brands like Aetrex, Alegria, Aravon, Dr. Comfort, Drew, Finn Comfort, Rockport, SAS Tripad Sandals, Vionic are suggested by United States-based eBay resellers as those to consider pricing a bit higher than you would otherwise have been tempted to.
If you’re prepared to do your research you can walk the extra mile to charity shops, bazaars and second hand markets, and buy in bulk knowing that you will be able to flip your bag of booties on eBay – or Gumtree for that matter.
However, make sure that besides for shoe brands you are familiar with the different styles and colours of footwear that are on trend at the time.
Set the price low – but not too low! You want the Goldilocks effect of getting the starting price just right to fuel a bidding war. If you’ve got some high-quality merchandise (think shoes that a teenager has grown out of before they’ve had a chance to grind the decks), then you may want to set a higher reserve price.
Keyword baiting – make sure your product description matches the most popular search phrases (eBay is especially useful for this).
Start a new account – if you’re a fan of the free listings that come up with a new account, then perhaps start one. If your product gets pulled because of compliance issues you’ll lose the chance to list for free.
Include lots of pictures – Why not? Show the shoes in as favourable a light as possible, and remember, make sure any defects in the product are featured in the shot so that the buyer has no cause to complain. Remember that eBay has lots of rules for selling (here they are).
Sell near and far – Make sure your settings include the US market. Don’t be grumpy – remember those return customers are very important to ensure a consistent demand (if you’re going to take this seriously), so be polite, and use a friendly tone.
This is where the rubber meets the road, and you’ll either auction the shoes or list them at a fixed price. If you fancy your chances of starting a bidding frenzy then go with the auction. Obviously. And, while you’re at it, pay the fee to set a reserve price, so that you at least have control over the price you will receive for the item. If you are not feeling as confident, then specify the selling price. It is really important you do some market research before the time so that you can maximise your profit.
Quick steps to research your right price:
- Search for the item you want to price
- On the search results page, scroll down on the left margin and tick ‘sold listings’ and ‘pre-owned’.
- Tick any of the other filters that apply (size, colour, brand)
- Sort the results in highest to lowest to first see the best price associated with the item
Completed listings are the best to look at on eBay during this process as an active listing does not reflect selling price – just the asking price. This way you will see the factors that affected the sold item e.g. if shipping was included, what time of year it was (winter shoes perhaps selling better in colder months).
Look no further than your own cupboard. Turn out your old suitcases. What is in those boxes in the garage? What shoes do your friends not wear anymore? British women are said to own an average of 20 pairs of shoes, of which only five are regularly worn. If that ratio holds, even if you have 60 pairs, you’re only wearing 15 regularly. So, why let the other 45 collect dust, age and lose any more resale value?
Besides your own home, look at the local charity shops, estate sales, garage sales, consignment stores, church rummage sales. Don’t miss the opportunity to pick up shoes you know you can sell for more online.
When looking for shoes to sell, make sure you check the item properly – have they been walked into the ground? Is the shoe holey or worn through at all? The tread is also important as you do not want anyone to slip in shoes you’ve sold them.
A well-known scam is when someone messages you with a too-high price for the shoes. This should set off the alarm bells of your inbuilt non-sense detector. Typically, they will offer to pay the larger amount on PayPal, and so avoid any eBay fees. If you fall for this trick you’ll send them your PayPal account details and then get an official-looking email that reads that the money has been sent, however, it will only be in the account after you ship the product. This is, of course, a lie. The money will never land in your account.
Keep a close eye on buyers with zero feedback on their accounts, or if the positive feedback they do have is from accounts that are barely used (ie: fake accounts the buyer has set up to simply provide praise for their active account). Either way, rather be safe than sorry.
Never hand out your personal contact details or place of address. No, no-one needs to pick up the shoes from you in person. Rather, use eBay’s messaging system. And, if you ever feel uncomfortable, remember that you can report a buyers behaviour to eBay – other sellers they approach in future may not be as cautious as you are.