Top 10 TradeMe selling tips

There’s many ways you can approach selling on TradeMe. The ten tips below intend to guarantee your items get sold, while also getting the best price by attracting as many buyers as possible.

1. Use a price anchor. Either have a high buy now price, or state the retail price.

2. Create buyer urgency by generating competing bids. The easiest way to achieve this is to run a $1 reserve the auction. This may seem risky, but if the item your selling is in demand and you follow the rest of the tips below, you’ll get the market price. Everyone bidding knows it will be sold, it will be gone, and they may not get the opportunity again.

3. Pay to promote your auction. I always pay the $0.55 gallery listing, and for goods I believe will sell for over $50, I pay the $3.95 combo. Attracting impulse buyers is a great way to get extra bids in to help drive up the price. Don’t be a cheap in the hope of saving a few cents.

4. End the auction at a sensible time. 11 pm on a Friday, or midday Saturday are not good times. I normally target 8-9 pm on Monday or Thursday. If you are not normally home at these times to start the auction, pay the $0.25 so you can pick the exact closing time. Run the auction for a at least week, to ensure you get exposure to as many buyers as possible.

5. Take good photos. Try to avoid photos taken at night with your cellphone that end up super grainy. Take your photos on the weekend, during the day with lots of natural light. Avoid placing your items in direct sunlight. Make a space around the items so it’s clear what is for sale.

6. Use emotive and technical language in your descriptions to connect with different buyer personalities. Emotive can be as simple as a couple of key words thrown in like beautiful, stunning, reliable. Technical can be as simple as the objects dimensions, colour, appropriate ages. Don’t go overboard with listing every spec. Just what is relevant for today’s buyer.

7. Put a shipping price on it. is great for calculating shipping costs and avoiding unnecessary errands to the post office. For furniture and bulky items charge a reasonable rate, but restrict delivery to you own city. Often the eventual buyer wants to pickup anyway, but it’s getting the buyers who can’t interested and bidding up the price. And if I do end up delivering $30 is well worth an hour of my time.

8. When selling lots of items for pickup, email the auction winners a one hour time slot to pickup on the weekend say 10-11 am Saturday, and then be open to other times by arrangement. My best result was having six people turn up within that slot. This can save you a lot of time.

9. Sell items individually. Just because you liked having a bookcase that matches the coffee table, doesn’t mean other people will. When it comes time to sell you limit the number of willing buyers by bundling both into one auction.

10. Be realistic about what you own is worth. Add similar items to your watchlist, and see what they actually sell for. Understand retail shops typically run 100% markup, so if what your selling is new expect no more than the wholesale price (50% of retail). If it’s used but in good condition expect 25%. If it’s used, but imperfect 10-15%. Ultimately all I’m interested in is getting the market price, and following the tips above seems to get me there.

Got your own tips for selling on TradeMe? Share them in the comments.

7 Replies to “Top 10 TradeMe selling tips”

  1. Very much shifted to Facebook Marketplace. Enjoyed your piece on that, it reflects what I’ve found very closely.

    I’ve found that Trademe is quite frustrating to manage, putting photos on is a hassle compared to Facebook and there’s lots of arbitrary restrictions whereas everything is negotiable via Facebook. Also the fact that Facebook is free helps.

    1. Check out Bidbud for easy to put up TM auctions. I sell 10-20 items a week on TM as an income stream – love garage saleing lol – and have used BB for a few years now. Its a breeze to use as everything is on one page and most are set as defaults :). Is free to use too. Afraid Ive found FB too much of a hassle dealing with time wasters and tyre kickers.

  2. Trade Me let’s bad traders hide behind what seems like good feedback! You can have 500 bad trades yet still show 96% good feedback! How! Well if you have done 2000 trades & 70 were neutral & you debated a couple of hundred & so that Feedback was removed then your left with only a percentage of the baddest trades that stuck! trademe need these bad traders, it’s what keeps there 0900 going & the employment of staff because what else would Trade Me staff actually do? List stuff!

  3. So many tips on selling on trademe but they wont work on Pottery and Porcelain trios. Pages and pages without one bid, even at $8 a trio. Staring at $1 reserve as advised may see you selling a Royal Albert trio for $2 !!!! I did it once and finished up with a $4 bid, and all the hassle of posting it.

    1. Hi. These tips work for in demand items. If you have low demand collectables, a fix price might be better, or alternatively find another avenue where there is greater demand (ebay, collectables forums etc).

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