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7 top tips to help you buy & sell with local online selling sites | Gumtree

Thursday 19 July 2018, by

The Etiquette of Buying and Selling Online

Seven Top Tips to Help you Buy and Sell Like a Pro

Are you hoping to sell your once-loved items, or grab yourself a bargain, without paying high-street prices?

With over 1.5 million ads live on Gumtree at any time, it’s the perfect place to buy or sell second-hand goods in its For Sale and Motors categories. But how do you do so easily whilst overcoming potentially awkward situations during the process, such as meeting the buyer or seller in person, knowing what to do if the item doesn’t look as though it was described, and negotiating on price?

That’s why Gumtree’s teamed up with the How to Academy and negotiation expert, Gavin Presman, to create a guide to ‘The Etiquette of Buying and Selling Online’. Free to download, it offers simple tips for both buyers and sellers to help them confidently navigate the online marketplace process, from making first contact, to meeting to retrieve/handover the item, to the transaction itself.

So if you’re part of 18% of Brits who have never used an online marketplace*, download the ‘Seven Tips to a Stress-Free Online Marketplace Experience today here, which covers the below:

  • Do your homework: Work out a price that’s reasonable and realistic
  • Advertise with impact and honesty: Describe benefits and condition in words and pics
  • Connect early: Get in touch straight away and
  • ask questions to build an understanding
  • Mutually agree the meet up: Pick a time, location and process everyone is happy with
  • Don’t make it personal: Be welcoming then focus on the product, not the person
  • It’s not cheeky to check: Don’t be too embarrassed to look the item over or count out the cash in front of the other person
  • Trade, don’t haggle: Find items to exchange rather than just focusing on price

Money to be saved?

Gumtree has carried out research which reveals that we’re missing out on a massive £6.5 billion* in potential savings each year because we don’t feel comfortable negotiating when buying via online marketplaces – that’s a potential loss of £496.20 per person.**

Although the current rapid growth of the resale economy shows how Brits are starting to see the value in purchasing pre-loved items, the research indicates it’s our general awkwardness that’s potentially putting people off making the most of the incredible range of items and re/upcycling opportunities on offer. Almost two thirds (61%)*** admit they would rarely or never try to negotiate when meeting a seller, of which 41% said it was because it would feel rude and 35% because it would feel ‘inappropriate’.

Moreover, a whopping 67% of people who prefer phoning when contacting the buyer/seller for the first time said they find the initial call to discuss the item awkward, more than a third (34%) feel anxious when meeting, almost half (49%) worry about the buyer/seller not turning up, 37% dread the buyer trying to haggle on price and more than one in ten (12%) even worry about whether the other person is going to be too chatty. What’s more, more than a quarter (27%) of those who wouldn’t complain if they got home and found the item was faulty said it was because it would just be too awkward. All of which might explain why the most common form of feeling after the transaction is complete is relief (51%).

In fact, almost a fifth of people (18%) have never used an online marketplace, of whom 29% admitted it’s because they prefer to use websites they’ve used before, a quarter (25%) worry about fraud, 18% don’t trust an item will be as described and one in 10 are nervous about meeting people to pick up the item.

Detail of a woman counting money for payment.

A Gumtree spokesperson said: “As a nation, we’re becoming more aware of the benefits of online marketplaces, from the range of items on offer to the convenience of being able to pick up a rare find locally. But the increasingly anonymous nature of online buying and the fact we’re generally a well-mannered bunch, means we often find it too awkward to negotiate – or even raise the issue if an item isn’t up to scratch – when we have to meet individuals face-to-face.

“That’s why we’ve partnered with the How to Academy to help people become much more comfortable and confident throughout the whole buying and selling process. Online marketplaces open up a world of opportunity, be it making money out of something no longer needed, making big cost savings, or finding something loved that’s no longer on sale elsewhere. Our guide will help Brits avoid the awkwardness that could hold them back from the thrill of discovering a hidden gem or cashing in on their own attic equity.”

Gavin Presman, expert negotiator and How to Academy trainer, commented: “As a negotiator, I know how tricky people can find it dealing with others, which is why I was thrilled to get involved with this project and provide tips and tools on how to buy and sell online with confidence. The possibilities an online community like Gumtree offers are endless – not only to find rare gems, but also to help pre-loved items find a home – which is why we shouldn’t let something as British as awkwardness hold us back from reaping the benefits.”

Download your free copy of the etiquette of buying and selling online here.

Young business start up online seller owner using computer for checking the customer orders from email or website and preparing packages for product office equipment.


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*Research conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Gumtree. Total sample size was 1,217 UK adults who have made purchases via online marketplaces. Survey conducted online between 29th June and 2nd July 2018. Calculations have been made based on 2016 ONS figures for 18+ year olds in the UK and extrapolating the results from our nationally representative survey to the population.

**Calculated using mean of savings per month

***Research conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Gumtree. Total sample size was 2,004 UK adults. Survey conducted online between 6th and 8h June 2018. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

About Gumtree

Gumtree is the UK’s #1 classifieds website and app, used by 1 in 3 adults[1] every month. With over 1.5 million[2] ads live on the site at any time, it’s the perfect place to buy or sell second-hand goods and cars. You can also find ads for a wide range of jobs, properties to rent and buy, professional services, community events and more. 33% of the UK digital population use Gumtree every month[3], and the Gumtree smartphone app has been downloaded over 16 million times[4].

For more information, please contact:

Red Consultancy

+44 (0)20 7025 6683

[1] comScore, yearly average: June 2016 – May 2017

[2] Gumtree data warehouse

[3] comScore, yearly average: June 2016 – May 2017

[4] App Annie: up to April 2017

The Media Team

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