24 Must-Have Items for the Online Reseller
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It’s confession time. When I sold my first few items online, I packaged them in Ziplock bags and recycled mailers before shipping them off. Stuffing would’ve been a better way to describe it. Forget about visual appeal. I only thought about keeping the items dry if the packages got wet.
Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since then. Now I have all the materials I need to package items nicely and ship them well. One of the best things you can do running a business of selling online is to be prepared to ship before you even make a sale. Have what you need and your order will be out the door in no time. And quick shipping means happy customers!
So what do you need for smooth online sales and shipping? Let’s take a look. Everything that I use is on this list. I’ve added other things that I’ve seen sellers recommend and use with positive results.
Listing items online
1 | Camera
The first thing you’ll need is a camera. Your cell phone camera will do perfectly well. That’s why apps like Poshmark and Mercari work so well. You can list directly from your phone using its camera. Other sellers may use point-and-shoot or DSLR cameras, which can produce great results as well.
2 | Flat sheet or boards
My preference in selling is to use a flay lay design. For a flat lay photograph, you want to have a nice background. If you don’t have anything else available, you can place the item directly on the floor or table. I do this on occasion, but I don’t recommend it as you don’t want to give the impression that you put new or clean clothes on a potentially dirty floor.
Instead, use a poster board, foam board, or flat sheet as a barrier between the item and the floor. These can provide visual appeal to your picture and item if it’s in a complementary color. It can also provide a solid background for a busy or detailed item.
3 | Rug or blanket
Another option for the flat lay is to photograph items on household items like a rug or blanket. White rugs like this one are really popular right now and it’s no wonder why. They photograph well and make your items look glamorous. If you don’t want a new rug, you can use a blanket you already have. This is a nice white one similar to the rug. I have a blanket similar to this one with one dark side and one light side, which is great for providing contrast when taking pictures of dark and light items.
4 | Backdrop
The other option for you can use for a flat lay or modeled photo is to use a backdrop. Backdrops like this wood one and this one photograph really well. They can be used as both floor and wall backdrops. You don’t even need a stand to keep them up.
5 | Dress form
Some sellers swear by the dress form AKA mannequin. This is especially great for items such as dresses and skirts. You’ll give the item some shape and show how it drapes. I prefer a plain versus printed dress form so it doesn’t clash with the item being modeled. One problem of using a dress form may be that it’s one size (small) while your clothes are another (large). An adjustable dress form is available but pricey. Dress forms available without the stand or plastic ones may be cheaper.
6 | Measuring tape
A measuring tape is a must. I add measurements for just about everything that I list. Even if you don’t, you’ll come across potential buyers who will want measurements before they decide to buy.
7 | Stain remover
8| Lint remover
Lint shows in photographs, especially when it’s in a contrasting color than your item. To avoid a messy look, remove any lint before taking pictures. These lint remover rolls are so easy to use. If you don’t want to use lint removers, you can dab the sticky side of a piece of tape on the item or wipe the item down with a lightly damp cloth to get rid of the lint.
9 | Dryel
Sometimes a thrifted item will need to be freshened up before being shipped out. Dry cleaning is pricey, so dry clean items nicer items at home with Dryel. Items that can go in the washing machine get a wash and line dry so they’re ready for the recipient to wear.
10 | Lights
An easy way to photograph your items well is to use natural light. When that’s not possible, you can use lights and lamps from around your house set up close together with the light directed towards the item you want to photograph. For sellers who want to take their photography up a notch, this lighting kit has everything you need and is a great value.
11 | Editing apps
Editing apps are essential to my listings. I use the Photo Editor app to make collages of the item if I want to showcase a few stock photos or I have more pictures than is allowed by the app. I use Snapseed to edit photos, brightening them if they’re too dark and enhancing the color of items to present them better. Lots of other similar apps exist, so you can find one that works for you.
Packaging items to ship
12 | Mailers
Mailers are an easy way to ship clothes and accessories. They’re thin, lightweight, cost efficient as well. I use bubble mailers so that buttons and zippers are protected, but you can use these plain shipping bags or even fun ones like these with flamingos or these ones with pineapples on them.
USPS provides free boxes when you use their Priority service. I order several different sizes of boxes in packs of 10 to 25 so I don’t have to use time stopping at the post office to pick them up. You can reuse boxes you get in the mail as well. If you’re trying to save money, I recommend using free boxes as much as possible so you don’t have to waste money on them.
14 | Scale
A scale is essential so you know how much to charge for shipping. On apps like Poshmark, you have a limit such as 5 pounds and very rarely will a single item go over it. But if you sell on places like eBay, every ounce counts. You can end of charging too much or paying too much out of your own pocket for shipping if you guess how much your packaged item weighs. I use a food scale that shows ounces and different units of measurement.
15 | Tissue paper
16 | Thank you notes
17 | Packaging tape
If you ship items that require boxing, you’re likely to need packaging tape. Some USPS boxes are self-sealing but some are not. You’ll need packaging tape if you’re recycling boxes you received in the mail. I forgo the name brand stuff and buy this one, which has worked really well.
18 | Transparent tape
I forgo the name brand transparent tape and buy these rolls in bulk. This tape is great for when I wrap an item in tissue paper and for taping shipping labels onto mailers and boxes.
19 | Adhesive shipping labels
Some sellers prefer to use self-adhesive shipping labels. You can print directly onto the label and stick it on your package. No additional tape required.
20 | Copy paper
If you decide not to use adhesive shipping labels, you’ll need regular copy paper to print your labels. I stock up on this at Staples during back-to-school or Black Friday sales. You can get reams of paper for a dollar each.
21 | Printer & ink
You’ll need access to a printer to print your shipping labels. I have a Canon printer like this one. The printer and ink have lasted a long time and made the packaging process more convenient for me.
Storing items will depend on a number of things such as how much space you have and how many items you have to store. This is what I’ve seen for myself and other sellers.
22 | Clothes rack or closet
A first choice for storage of clothes and accessories may be an extra closet. If you don’t have that available to you, a clothes rack can be really helpful. An added bonus is that you can photograph your clothes hanging from it.
23 | Hangers
These thin velvet hangers are the best. They’re durable and clothes maintain their shape while staying on the hangers.
24 | Storage bins
I store most of my items in storage bins because they can hold a lot and sit anywhere in the house. This is a good solution for sellers who have hundreds or thousands of items and need to stack them upwards or store them in the garage.
The above items are sure to make any reseller’s life easier, from taking better pictures for more attractive listings to quick packaging and shipping of sold items. I’m sure there’s more out there that I haven’t mentioned, which is why I'd like to hear from you.
By the way, you can make use of these items during the 7-day Closet to Cash online listing challenge. Join me in putting your items up for sale and putting cash back into your pocket!
Which of the above items do you feel are essential to selling online? What other items do you use that I haven’t mentioned here?