As long as there has been commerce, there has been a middleman. Linking sellers with buyers, the middleman often charges a hefty fee for his crucial service. But the Internet has changed all of that. From massive online marketplaces such as Amazon and Craigslist to digital social networks that let you create online garage sales, the middleman is getting cheaper by the day. The sheer size of online markets has created a race to the bottom in fees, allowing sellers to keep more profits and buyers to find better prices. Cheapism.com has found some of the best online tools and marketplaces where just about anything can be bought and sold.
From Gift Cards to Used Cars, 10 Cheap Online Markets
Sorry, grandma, but it's frustrating to get a gift card for a store you don't particularly like. If you're trying to sell an unwanted gift card, the website and app Gift Card Granny helps you get the best price. Gift cards are categorized by merchant, with information on pricing drawn from across the web.
Making large purchases online can be scary, but using the Internet to find a used car and then test driving it in person can be a good way to get a deal. Many cars and trucks are listed on general marketplaces such as Craigslist and car-specific sites such as AutoTrader. AutoTempest does one better by combing search results from both of those sites, plus a few others, based on the make, model, and specifications you're looking for.
Every year or two the latest iPhone or Galaxy is released, and some people just have to have it. Amid the mad rush for the latest gadget, older models quickly lose value. A number of sites connect buyers and sellers of used smartphones, along with game consoles, speakers, tablets, MP3 players, and video games. Some of the best are NextWorth, Gazelle, and Glyd.
The overflowing closet is a popular target for online marketplaces. Cheapism has done a roundup of clothing resale apps and websites, and a few are worth mentioning again. Twice and Poshmark focus on high-end brands, while ThredUp, ThreadFlip, and Vinted are more general. Each site has its own rules when it comes to fees, and some act like consignment stores, doing the posting and selling for you.
INSTAGRAM AND TUMBLR
These services weren't designed for buying and selling goods, but with hundreds of millions of users, commerce has found a way in. Look at #ShopMyCloset and #ShopMyStore for all sorts of items for sale, with a particular emphasis on clothing.
A social network turned marketplace, Facebook Groups are being used throughout the country as buy/sell/trade groups. There is no fee to list or sell your goods, leaving all the profits (and savings) with the group's members. Plus, you're connecting with your local community. There are also ‘buy nothing' groups if you're looking for freebies or have something to give away.
Tickets for concerts and sporting events can cost hundreds of dollars. That can be great for you if you're selling an extra ticket, or frustrating if you really need one. The possibility of getting a fake ticket makes scalpers and Craigslist a little risky, but they are the best ways to avoid high fees. For verified tickets, which cost a little more, try StubHub, GoTickets, and VividSeats.
Furniture can be tricky because items are generally large and hard to ship. Craigslist does a fairly good job listing local sales, but a handful of sites focused specifically on furniture are better. Furnishly features easy-to-use navigation and lots of high-quality images. Listings are organized around urban areas and include individual sellers and dealers in more than 50 cities. Krrb is another well-designed furniture site, with an emphasis on hyper-local sales. Buyers can find furniture for sale near their house using the site's geo-location service.
The right artwork can make the difference between having a house and having a home, and numerous online marketplaces focus on handmade arts and crafts. Yessy is an older forum that isn't very sleek but is still quite popular. Newer entries such as 20x200 and ArtSpace focus on particular artists in addition to their work. If you're interested in making your own art, Creative-Resale allows users to buy, sell, trade, and donate art supplies.
ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING
The flea markets of the online world, you can find just about anything listed on these sites. A few giants dominate the space – including Amazon, Ebay, and Craigslist – but there are some small sites that are worth a visit. Carousell is an up-and-comer that's quickly making inroads in the U.S. Carousell focuses on making the buying and selling process easy, from photo uploads to communications between interested parties. A campus marketplace feature limits access to students at a specific university.