Looking to cash in on your clutter? Today I’m sharing my experience with selling on swap.com, an online consignment service!
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If you’ve found your way to this blog post, I’m betting that you’ve either a) been on some form of a decluttering rampage over the past few months (perhaps as participant in the 40 Bags in 40 Days Declutter Challenge), or b) are about to start your decluttering rampage. Yey for you!
Part of the decluttering process includes exploring options for what to do with all of those items you’ve decided to let go of. In the Sell It blog series, I’ve zeroed in on options for turning your clutter into cash. So far in the series, we’ve explored:
Over the summer, I was on a mission to familiarize myself with some of the less well-known online selling resources so that I could share what I learned with all of you. First up was Swap.com.
Swap.com. is essentially an online consignment store where you can sell (and buy!) clothing for women, men, and kids. Other categories of items that they’ll accept include: kids’ books, toys, video games, and sports equipment. Since my favorite local kids’ consignment store went out of business earlier this year, it seemed like the perfect time to give this service a try in order to get rid of the latest pile of outgrown clothes and toys.
SELLING ON SWAP.COM: THE PROCESS
First things first. I started the process by familiarizing myself with their terms of service so that I could have a firm understanding of their payout structure, item acceptance criteria, and shipping instructions. Since I was using my own box to ship my items, it cost me a flat $11.90 to ship a box that conformed to their packing guidelines.
I generated a pre-paid shipping label, taped it to my box full if kids’ items and shipped it off via FedEx.
Next, I waited. And waited. And waited some more. It took almost four weeks from the day I shipped the box until the day I received the notification email that my box had been processed and items were listed for sale.
And then to my surprise, I discovered that about half of the items I shipped for consignment were rejected. Hmph.
The items that met Swap.com‘s stringent acceptance criteria were photographed, catalogued, priced, and uploaded into their online store.
For items that they reject, Swap.com gives you the choice to let them donate the rejected items, or ship them back to you. Since a few of these “rejects” were relatively high ticket clothing items (like a NorthFace jacket) that I knew I could either sell or give away as hand-me-downs, I opted to have the rejected items sent back to me. In an effort to avoid having to pay the shipping fee, I searched online for a free shipping code and found one that worked for the return shipment.
Keep in mind that when they spell out their acceptance criteria, they mean business. So much so that you will incur a penalty fee of $10 if over 50% of your box is rejected (and a $5 if between 40-50% of your box contents are rejected). Yikes. You can read the fine print on their acceptance criteria for childrens’ items here.
Curious to see the types of items they rejected? Let’s open up the box and take a look.
So the criteria does state that an item cannot have signs of excessive wear. O.K., I’ll admit that I kinda overlooked those semi-faded knees on my son’s jeans:
(not a fan of those judgmental little frowny faces)
And I guess a pulled out hem from the inside of a shirt is considered “excess wear and tear” as well:
It almost required a magnifying glass to detected this oh-so-subtle stain on the shirt color. I certainly did not see it when I packed it for shipping. The folks that work in the Swap.com warehouse appear to have bionic eyes. Nothing gets past them!
One glorious day, I received a notification that my first item had sold!
And slowly over the next few months, most of my listed items sold:
At the end of the summer, I decided to use Swap.com’s SureSell Guarantee feature to sell the last of my items that had not sold via regular consignment in order to wrap up the selling process. If your items don’t sell, you can choose to accept their deeply discounted SureSell offer for your item. Something is better than nothing, right?
The Bottom Line:
I sold 13 items (including one toy, one book, and 11 clothing items) for a grand (net) total of $32.59 over the course of approximately 5 months.
SELLING ON SWAP.COM: PROS AND CONS
As with any method of selling decluttered items, Swap.com has it’s pros and cons.
- Using this service allows you to avoid all the hassles associated with selling on sites like Facebook and Craigslist (translation: you avoid interactions with shady characters, long drives to meet sellers who may no-show, etc.).
- After you pack your items and ship them off, Swap.com does all the work for you (photographing, pricing, marketing), which saves you time.
- You’re guaranteed to sell your items via their SureSell guarantee.
- They have extremely stringent item acceptance criteria and you’ll incur penalties for sending a high volume of items that don’t meet their criteria. Of course, this is definitely a “Pro” if you’re a Swap.com buyer. Their persnickety methods create a very positive buyer experience.
- Swap.com is not a service for impatient people or people who are in a hurry to make a profit. The average processing time between sending off items and enjoying your first online sale is crazy long (30-60 days).
- The payout for small ticket items is small. The lower the list price, the smaller the percentage of sale proceeds for sellers. If you’re selling a lot of items with a price tag below $10, you’ll take home a “whopping” 20% of the sale.
- Sellers cannot price their own items. Sellers used to be able to set their own prices, but when Swap.com revised their Terms of Service in July of 2017, they took over the pricing function as part of their “full service” experience.
Is this service something I’ll continue to use in the future? Probably not. Remember how I said that this is not a service for impatient people? Enough said. When I’m ready to sell items, I want to complete the transaction as swiftly as possible and move on with my life. Plus those frowny faces really got the best of me 🙁
Even though it wasn’t the right fit for me, this might be just the service that you’re looking for to unload your unwanted stuff. Give the pros and cons I laid out, will you consider giving Swap.com a try?
Don’t forget to check out other posts in the Sell It series if you’re looking to transform your clutter into cash:
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