How my moving out sale succeeded through the power of my social network

I never realised how many things I owned until I decided to leave Berlin. I was sitting in an apartment full of stuff I needed to get rid of in one way or another. Furniture, appliances, tools, kitchenware, books, you name it. 
I started to look around for ways to get everything sold. Preferably as efficient as possible with as little hassle as possible.

At the time, the most popular ways of selling online in Berlin was with either Ebay (Kleinanzeigen) or simply using Facebook buy & sell groups. But none of them were really what I was looking for.

I had a lot of things that I wanted to showcase. At least 30+ items, and I wanted to show them all together. I also wanted to restrict who I shared my sale with to begin with.

As I couldn’t find an online service that catered to my needs I ended up building my own sale page.

My personal “moving out” sale site

Since I know how to build web pages it didn’t take that long and having my own web page gave me some clear upsides:

I could control how my sale was shared

As I wanted a quick sale I was willing to let my stuff go for very good prices, and most of it was pretty good stuff in good shape. Because of this I really wanted to first see if any of my friends would be interested in what I had, to give them the opportunity to buy first.

I could build a summary of all my things

By having my own sale page I could showcase everything I had on one page in an attractive way. This gave the benefit of “inspiration”.
People visiting my page got inspired to buy more than one thing. Most of my buyers bought several items as “they matched so well together” or “there was some good stuff there and since I was coming by anyway I might as well get some more”.

I mainly sold to my own extended network

My site shared on Facebook

I was actually amazed by how easy it was to sell within my own network. Just by having a couple of friends share my page onwards, my reach for potential buyers grew exponentially.

Apparently there is a well known theory in regards to “strong” and “weak” ties where the strong ties are people closer to you such as friends, family etc. and the weak ties acquaintances or your “outer network”. It theorises that most opportunities in life actually comes from the weaker ties. In my case it really felt like it applied here.

In the end my sale became a big success (for me at least). I managed to sell pretty much everything I had quickly and with great benefits.

  • As I sold to very good prices I could do my friends a favour by giving them the chance to buy first.
  • I got fewer buyers as many of them bought several items (some bought a lot actually) which made the sale more time efficient.
  • I had more trusted buyers (or at least it felt like it) as the buyers were mostly my friends or friends of friends.

So does this mean that I think bigger marketplaces like Ebay, Craigslist, Facebook marketplace etc. are obsolete?

Not at all. They are still many times the best choice. If you only have a couple of items to sell or items that are very niche. Also, if it is important for you to get as high price as possible for a single item, you probably need a bigger reach.

For me the main downside with these marketplaces is that they are mainly focused on the buyers, not the sellers. You can put your sofa up for sale there, but you will immediately have competition with plenty of other people also selling their sofa.

And if your sofa gain some attention, you’ll need to start dealing with strangers asking questions/haggling or maybe even want to come over and see it (just as little as you trust them, they trust you).

For “spontaneous” buyers I prefer Facebook buy and sell groups, as there is a higher chance of members in those group “stumble” upon your items for sale if they happen to pop up in their feed. But then again, there is nothing that would prevent you from sharing your private sale page in these groups too. The few things that I couldn’t sell to my own network, I actually got sold by sharing my page to one of these groups.

Meet Diggsweep

While running my own successful sale not only did my sale page get a lot of positive feedback, several people also asked me if I had used an existing service to build it as they needed something similar.

That was when it struck me. I wasn’t alone in my thoughts and there actually is a need for a service like this. So I decided to create Diggsweep, an online service where anyone easily and without any technical knowledge can create their own personal sale, just like I had done. If you are in the position of doing a big sale yourself, go ahead and try it out!

And as an added bonus, check out 5 good tips for better photos of your items.

My old sale site remade as example on Diggsweep