We spoke to Carousell co-founder Marcus Tan to find out how any Singaporean can become a top seller on Carousell.
Remember flea markets? Once upon a time, when you wanted to cleanse your wardrobe/storeroom of impulse purchases, clothes you could no longer fit in and other forgotten tchotchkes, you had to go through the hassle of applying for a floor-mat-sized space at one of the flea markets, and hope the ballot goes in your favour.
Then when you do get your little piece of real estate, you lug a suitcase full of your wares to the venue, lay your them out and lelong (local slang for sell at a bargain) them away for the next 6 to 8 hours. Even then, there is no guarantee that you’d sell everything, which means there’s a good chance you’d have to schlep your unsold items back home and give everything that dozens of hagglers have touched a good wipe down — until you’re completely wiped out.
Yes, those were the days — before Carousell and other online second-hand marketplaces made our lives easier. All we have to do now is take a good picture of what we wish to sell, post them on Carousell with a snazzy caption and descriptions, price-tag it and wait for offers.
But while it’s all very simple to execute, there are tricks and strategies you can use to become a top seller on Carousell. Who better to ask for tips than the co-founder of Carousell, Marcus Tan, who gives us the skinny on what sells, and how to sell successfully.
What are the most popular and sellable items on Carousell?
Marcus Tan: Globally, Carousell has more than 57 million listings with over 23 million items sold (as of December 2016). Fashion and beauty products have the highest volume of transactions, but the category with the highest percentage of transactions against listings is Electronics & Gadgets. Laptops and tablets get sold very quickly, some in a matter of minutes! Recently, we have also seen more cars being sold on Carousell.
Since we launched four-and-a-half years ago, we have established a vibrant community of passionate and active buyers and sellers with varied interests. We have die-hard Lego fans, bike enthusiasts, comic collectors, and even sneaker-heads.
What kind of items sees the highest number of listings?
MT: In Singapore, the top 3 categories are women’s fashion, electronics and gadgets, and toys and board games.
Why do you think these are particularly sellable?
MT: Around the world, we are constantly nudged towards a culture of consumerism and “fast fashion”. We often buy things that we don’t need on impulse, and very quickly find that there are dresses, electronics and toys that we no longer use or need.
Carousell makes buying and selling simple so that unused or under-used items can find a new lease of life with new owners. This frees up space and time in our lives for other meaningful things and experiences.
We believe that buying and selling pre-loved is a more responsible and sustainable way to consumption. For instance, Singapore generated over 156,000 tonnes of textile and leather waste in 2015, enough to fill 60 Olympic sized pools, of which only 8% was recycled. When we sell our items we prolong the lifespan of items, at the same time reducing waste and pollution to the environment.
Do you have any tips on how to improve the resale value of one's pre-loved items; and how sellers can make a sale quickly?
MT: We’ve designed Carousell to make browsing a thrilling experience, with photos at the centre of discovery. It’s like thumbing through a beautiful catalogue, which is why we encourage users to spend a little more time on their pictures. Well taken and Insta-worthy photos matter! Simple and neat photos tend to get more offers.
Aesthetics aside, you can also make your listing stand out with clear and catchy names and descriptions. Buyers are looking for information to make a decision, so put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and think about what you would ask. Take time to provide as much specific detail as possible, to avoid having to address multiple queries. For example, product brand, item condition, measurements, defects, warranty periods, and other relevant information.
Some other quick tips:
- List items regularly as that’s a good way to bring a regular flow of new users to your profile
- Review your prices if you don’t receive offers on your items. In general, we noticed that users tend to price their items about 20% above market prices. Lowering your prices will likely attract offers much more quickly.
- If there is an interesting story behind the product, you should share it. Users are always on the hunt for something special, and appreciate a good story behind the items.
- Take part in Carousell’s campaigns. We recently ran “Black Friday and “12.12“ sales where we recorded a huge surge of user activity during these periods. Sellers have the opportunity to move many more items, and buyers get to score great deals.
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By Alexa Fang
Alexa is a pop-culture vulture. She lives to read, write and travel, and decided long ago that life is stranger than fiction. When she's having croissant, she thinks in French. "31 Rue Cambon" is her favourite address, and she believes that money one enjoyed spending is never money wasted.
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