When looking for second-hand or non-high street products, ebay is one of the most popular shopping sites to visit. Its wide range of goods and feedback system make it a great place to buy and sell wares with a certain degree of safety. But, if you’re fed up with seller's fees or just prefer a few different options, then here are some of the best alternatives to eBay.
If you’re after a second-hand bargain then Gumtree should be your first port of call. The site features an Aladdin’s cave of goodies that include clothes, smartphones, cars, houses and even jobs!
Now in its 20th year, the site has grown from a simple classifieds portal for whatever people wanted to sell, to a comprehensive community where you can find tradesmen to fix an issue, personal tutors, clubs, classes, and of course plenty of products for sensible prices.
The ratings system also adds a much-needed layer of security to ward off chancers who might try to shift dodgy gear to unwitting buyers. It’s free to sell most things on Gumtree, and while there are features that can be bought which will promote your listing, they’re not compulsory.
Amazon sells many products, but a huge part of its offering is products sold by 'marketplace' sellers. These are third parties, and can include private individuals selling used items at a cheaper price than a new one direct from Amazon.
Used items can range from coffee machines to phones, but you'll often find second-hand books which cost as little as a few pence plus delivery.
You can sign up for a free Basic seller account on Amazon and hawk your own used items, but Amazon takes a cut of the proceeds so it's one of the most expensive ways to sell. In the UK there's a standard £0.75 charge per sale, plus a referral fee that is usually a percentage of the buying price (these change depending on the type of item). The trade off is that Amazon has an even bigger audience than ebay, so your chances of finding a buyer are increased.
While it might sound like Sean Connery in a cameo role on the original Star Trek, Shpock simply means Shop in your Pocket. The principle is the same as Gumtree, in that items are mainly private sales from individuals who no longer need or want a certain item. Sellers take a picture, write a description, then post the listing. The site also allows the ad to be shared via Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and email if you so desire.
There are no fees and the idea is for sellers to list a price, buyers can make private offers for the items, which the seller can then either accept or propose a counter-offer. It’s a market bazaar on your smartphone.
Shpock has over 10 million active users, spread across the UK, Germany and Austria. There are also professional vendors that now operate on the site, selling new items, alongside a motoring section that lists the stock of various dealers.
Yes, we know Facebook is not exactly flavour of the month with many people due to the whole collapse of Western democracy thing, but if you’re hoping to snap up a cheap deal then the in-built Marketplace is well worth a look.
There’s no need to setup additional accounts, as Marketplace uses your existing Facebook ID. You’ll find it among the normal options for your Feed, and once selected it will reveal all of the items currently listed in the country.
This can be slimmed down by using the filter for locations and price, plus there are dedicated sections for things such as vehicles, entertainment, clothing, electronics, and hobbies. Selecting an item will display its price, any included photographs, the location and sellers’ identity. You can then message them for more details.
Due to the ubiquitous nature of Facebook, there are quite a few items available, and the fact that people have to use their actual accounts should mean they stay honest. If you want to sell something yourself then it's easy to post an item and you won't be charged anything to do so.
One of the newer services that has appeared in recent years is Depop. This specialises in clothes and has become incredibly popular with teens who are able to pick up fashion items cheaply and sell on anything that no longer fits their frames or lifestyles.
The smartphone-centric interface makes it quick and intuitive to put together listings for your items, with pictures and brief descriptions following clear and easy-to-use templates.
A strong factor in Depop's success is the community element which allows users to follow others and leave comments on posts (similar to Instagram). There's also local meetups and online parties where users can meet the influencers whose styles they most enjoy.
It's still mostly shopping, but with this social aspect Depop is showing how the next generation of marketplaces will be built if they want to rise above the rest. Most notably, it's also only available via apps for Android or iOS.
While the options listed above are great for general shopping, those looking for certain types of products might benefit from using specialist sites. After a new or used car? Autotrader is a fine place to peruse.
Want to find second-hand, cheap books, then World of Books has a wide range of choices from rare editions to mainstream novels.
Of course, if you want to support charities as you stock up on stuff, then you’ll find very worthy organisations like Oxfam have a good online presence for clothes and books, plus the British Heart Foundation is excellent for furniture.
When you start looking, there are plenty of options for those who want to leave the confines of eBay to find treasure in new lands. We hope you bag a bargain or two.