Selling off-eBay: An experiment

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I’ve often said eBay has all the buyers, but this week I thought I’d put a couple of alternative venues to the test. I wanted it to be a realistic experiment so I chose two popular sites – eBid and Gumtree. Both met one particular criteria which sellers claim to love – they’re both free to list. Gumtree also has the advantage as a classified ads site of also being free to sell.

First job was to choose which products to list. I purposely chose products which I sell week in week out on eBay and never fail to sell. With the thought in the back of my mind that many sellers claim to make a good income from alternate sites there was a twinge of guilt that I was making the test too easy but starting with top sellers made sense.

I was also conscious that listing on the 18th, the first day of the supposed eBay strike should mean that alternate sites were getting maximum traffic. If ever there was a time to list on these sites it’s when they’re in the media spotlight attracting maximum attention.

So the first listings went up just after 8pm on Monday 18th, one of each on eBay, eBid and Gumtree, starting with a laser printer and a TFT flat screen monitor. At the last minute I decided to lower the price by about 27% on both products for eBid and Gumtree, it seemed a reasonable move as I don’t have previous feedback for sellers to assess me by.

The first sale came in just three hours after listingรขโ‚ฌยฆ but it was on eBay and for the rest of the week eBay sales carried on as normal.

Tuesday saw a couple of TFTs sold on eBay and one on GUMTREE! For a free listing with a sale less than 24 hours later that was a worthwhile exercise. Gumtree kept a steady stream all week selling another TFT and a printer over the weekend. Sadly eBid failed to generate a single sale, in fact it only generated 4 page views on the printer (and two of them were Sue and me) with 19 views on the TFT Screen.

The eBid listings finished on Monday, but Gumtree are still producing sales. I’ve had another email this evening from a buyer wishing to purchase another printer, it appears the adverts have some longevity even without reposting the ad.

So the conclusion from a quick experiment – don’t bother with smaller auction sites where you still have to pay fees, if you want to try an alternative venue try classified ads on Gumtree.

32 Responses

  1. Interesting, thanks Chris. I have head of successful property letting on gumtree, but I hadnt considered other items.

  2. Looks good, stuck a few baths on Gumtree will see what happens.

    Just looking around am I right in thinking you have to list each item individually in each city/location or do you know if you can list in one place for the ad to then appear in all cities?

  3. a model of brevity – got to be well worth the small amount of effort for the results.

    Very interesting. I am not sure it is for me, but I might try it if I get something that I don’t think will sell well on eBay.

  4. Tell you what Lynne, compared to creating a listing on eBid it’s a piece of cake. Or on eBay come to that, although for eBay I’ve templates all set to go to be fair.

    Best of all it’s like an add in the local paper but with much better coverage – no account to open, nowt, just paste it in and away you go ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. “Doesnรขโ‚ฌโ„ขt eBay own gumtree?” You know what I think you’ll find that they do. ๐Ÿ˜›

    You have to ask why eBay don’t make more of a fuss about classifieds, but then I guess they don’t want me getting off eBay sales for free instead of paying fees ๐Ÿ˜†

  6. yep eBay own gumtree. interesting eh classifieds are big in the motors dept. i think in time it will filter through to other area’s. for example, sellers who sell bathrooms and accessories. a classified ad with all the products they carry or a contact me for further prices or special requests etc, will be the way forward!!!:razz: ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. รขโ‚ฌล“Doesnรขโ‚ฌโ„ขt eBay own gumtree?รขโ‚ฌย You know what I think youรขโ‚ฌโ„ขll find that they do. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Then perhaps the outcome of your experiment was obvious, and it was just done to mock eBid? ๐Ÿ˜›

  8. Surely you can’t be saying it’s obvious that no one would sell anything on eBid, Whirly? ๐Ÿ˜†

    I’ll be honest, when Chris said he was doing this, I never thought the Gumtree listings would sell. I am surprised by how well those did/are doing.

  9. Thats exactly what I am saying Sue ๐Ÿ˜€

    I’m hoping Chris has discovered a gold mine, I have put some baths on there today, took about 3 minutes ala cut&paste job.

  10. Whirly the experiement was purely because I wanted to find out if increased exposure on eBid would make it worthwhile to list on there. Gumtree was thrown in as an afterthought as a “might as well try it”.

    TBH it’s a bit sad that Gumtree out performed eBid by miles, but I simply didn’t get the page views on eBid required to make it a worthwhile exercise. If they don’t get the page views while a strike and alternative venues are all over the press what’s the chance the rest of the time? ๐Ÿ™

  11. cant imagine why anyone would need to sell or have time to sell anywhere else other than ebay
    if they had their selling strategies
    correct, attended all those seminars and unis,
    had a flash supa dupa posh shop front
    and had insider knowledge from Dan the man

    ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. time is the thing I need, not somewhere to sell, and some daft sod who can take photos ,and click a keyboard for a bowl of gruel,

  13. lol why would anyone need to mock ebad? It does the job all by itself. ๐Ÿ˜€

    You might as well set up a shop at the north pole at least you actually get people there.

  14. Sean – notice you listed on Gumtree Reading, I’d recommend also listing on Gumtree London as it’s the busiest of all the sites in the UK ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Very good post, always helps to understand what sites may or may not work for sellers. Cheers!

  16. Hmmm, Thinking that I could use Gumtree to get customers into my unit to buy things.

    Looks like it is only for face to face transactions. Am I wrong thinking this?

    We have a warehouse full of items but can’t openly promote retail sales as we would get clobbered with retail rates from the council.

  17. ……a good point about gumtreee above. I am going to experiment with it as i will also do with amazon this week as i am fed up with ebay. Talking of gumtree, i have another online business that sells paint https://www.neverpaintagain.co.uk and no thats not a pllug (!). I have, for the past year, run listings on gumtree, with live links back to my website. In all seriousness, these ads have generated about ร‚ยฃ100,000 worth of business in the past year for my business!!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Not bad eh? (Av sale value ร‚ยฃ5,000). I have also managed to sell items that ebay removed as they were prohibited, for example, 2 toy cap guns from the 70’s (yes im not kidding) that ebay removed as they breached their firearms policy!! Yes, 2 obviously TOY guns for children. Daft eh? But anyway, the point is it works, although on a more sinister note, ebay have a stake in gumtree, so they will still make money from PPC ads on my listings. Cant get away from them can I ?????

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