Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Trying Out Swap.com

I am normally the type of person who simply donates rather than resells items.  For me, my time and effort is generally worth way more than any small profit to be made in reselling items at a garage sale or consignment, etc.

But, when it came time to re-purpose my maternity clothes I gave second thought to donation as my first option.  Specifically, because I work in a professional setting I had ended up investing a fair amount in some very good maternity clothes.  In particular, I had invested in several Seraphine maternity dresses (Kate Middleton is a fan) since I work in a field where I need to look good and present a polished, professional appearance.  And, I had at least three or four dresses that I had only worn two or three times.

I did a fair amount of research regarding on-line maternity (and baby) consignment stores.  First, I sure wish I had known about these sites when I was buying maternity clothes as I would have tried out some of these sites for my own needs.  I had thought about consignment stores when I first started my maternity clothes shopping, indeed I had even tried to find one.  But, I was thinking and looking for physical stores and not virtual.  Dang!  Second, a lot of these sites have very mixed reviews and reputations.

After doing my due diligence, I decided to go with swap.com for a couple of reasons.  Importantly, they seemed to have the best reputation based on my research (please note - I've not received anything in exchange for this review).  Also of importance, to me, they do almost all the work. They take the photos, write the description and they mail out the packages to folks who buy.  As I mentioned before, I don't have the time to be shipping out packages to customers since with work and a baby I can barely complete one chore a week.

So, this is how it works.  (1)  Sign up as a seller.  (2)  Order a UPS shipping slip.  (3) Pack up neat, clean and in good condition items and send them off to Swap.com.  You can also bundle items together so they sell as a set.  Swap.com then does the rest, taking photos, writing description, mailing to buyers, sending you the money (via PayPal).

As a test, I sent in a box of mostly maternity clothes (a few newborn baby items) consisting of mainly casual, lower cost items (not my fancy maternity work apparel).  And, I would say that it generally worked as promised.

Communication was good.  When Swap.com received my package they emailed me.  When my items were ready to price (about two weeks later) they emailed me.  While I am still learning the site, I found pricing to be relatively easy.  An error in a description and classification for an item was promptly corrected after notification.

And, so far, I have actually sold some items and money has been sent to my PayPal account.  I think the fees are generally reasonable since Swap.com does most of the work and they store the items for months with no charge (there are storage charges after a set time passes).  There is a charge for the in-bound UPS shipping and a $1.50 plus 25% sales commission for each sold item (or set).

With fees and competition, pricing is an art.  I set my prices by looking at what similar items were priced at.  So, I priced maternity t-shirts at $7 and sold several.  Not much of a profit at $3.75 but better than nothing.

I must say it was painful to price a skirt that I wore once at $12 when it cost me $70.  And my super expensive maternity jeans that cost $150 are currently priced at $15 (but they were worn many times).  With my next box, the professional maternity items, I will need to price so I can recoup drycleaning costs (since I had it all recently cleaned in preparation for consignment) and make a decent profit so that will be tricky.

I was somewhat befuddled by what was rejected and they don't really tell you why.  I had sent in a barely worn maternity maxi dress that was in the rejected pile.  You can choose to have rejected items shipped back to you, but there is a charge (of course).  I'm not sure what happens to the items if you donate them (which is what I probably will choose to do).  No idea whether they actually get donated or if the site simply sells them.  Inexplicable rejections was a very common complaint in my research regarding other sites.

I haven't yet bought anything from Swap.com, but I do plan to try it out for baby clothes.  I already know that with my baby there are outfits, especially the fancy ones, that get worn once (and some not at all).  One trick I've learned about recently is to leave tags on baby clothes until they are worn.  That way, if baby never wears them you can list them as "new with tags".  If you remove the tags, even if baby never wears that outfit, you can only list them as "good condition".  


Productivity Guinea Pig said...

My daughter is 8 and I've been selling her old clothes and toys for years. I choose a local consignment sale that happens twice a year. It's a lot of work (and I couldn't have done it when she was tiny), but I put all the money in her savings account. It would be hard to justify all that work for myself, but I figure she has no income, so even a $10/hour return is good. It's surprising how it all adds up. We're getting close to $10k in her savings.

Sam said...

Guinea Pig - I like that idea, you limit your work to two times a year and you have a set goal in place. Does she help?

Productivity Guinea Pig said...

No way, she's banned from the room because she keeps dragging stuff back to her room to keep! Just wait, you'll see. :)

But she does help with lots of other jobs around the house, so she makes up for it.

Sam said...

GP - Too funny! I'm very sentimental and have trouble parting with things, hopefully I've not passed on that gene to Baby Sam.

Anonymous said...

You can save 20% off of your first Swap.com order through this referral link: http://referral.swap.com/204393397375471616 . The code for the 20% off will be emailed to you once you sign up on the site. Happy Swapping!

Anonymous said...

I ordered from Swap.com about a week ago for the first time. OMG the "blouse" that I got smelled so bad that I couldn't even bring it into the house. Imagine the worst stink you have ever smelled and multiply that times 10. It made me gag when I opened the bag. I thought you could only send clean items. This item was listed as in "good condition" The neck of the blouse had elastic that was so stretched out it crunched if you pulled on it. No amount of soap and water was going to get this smell out or the neck fixed. I contacted Swap.com and they said "sorry" please send the shirt back!!! I was horrified for two reasons.....They wanted me to touch the nasty thing again and that they actually wanted it back!!! I will never order anything from them again.

Sam said...

Sorry to hear that Anon. I've ordered from Swap probably five to seven times now, all for baby clothes, and while I've gotten a few items that were the wrong size I've never received a smelly or not in good condition item.

Based on the high standards I've encountered when I've shipped items in for sale, I'm surprised. I have found they are very strict on their review of items for sale. When I send in baby clothes I only send in new, barely worn or very good condition, everything is always laundered and ironed as well. Anything below that level I donate to local charity since I'd rather not pay swap to ship it back to me. Although I certainly don't doubt your experience.

MamaJoJo said...

I, too, decided to try Swap. I have been using Poshmark but wanted to explore other options. I sent a package in that they received on June 2. At the time of printing my shipping label I was warned: IT IS TAKING US UP TO 60 DAYS TO PROCESS ORDERS AFTER RECEIVING. I was told this again in the email about receipt. Okay, not ideal, but at least I was forewarned. On August 5 (more than 60 days later) I contacted them to ask about status. After a lot of back and forth they finally admitted they had only STARTED processing clothes they received 2 weeks before mine. I told them while I could be sympathetic to the backlog the lack of communication was unacceptable. I asked for them to send me my clothes. They told me they were giving me a $10 credit (which has never appeared in my account). We are now closing in on 90 days of Swap holding my clothing (and after reading the above I am really concerned about the condition they will be in if EVER returned!) I regret sending my clothes to them and I am at a loss to my options at this point. I am certain I could have sold them elsewhere before they went out of season.

AustinHoney said...

I just sent in my first box and after waiting a few weeks, they have begun to process them.

First problem, nearly half of the items are marked at the wrong size. That guarantees whomever buys it will return it.

Second problem, they rejected two items saying "stained." The problem is these items were brand, spanking new and unworn. There are no stains on them. Or at least there weren't.

Given they charge you to return anything they reject unless you opt to donate them, my guess is they hope you donate, then profit off it. I suspect this is a scam.

I am requesting they return it all, as is, at their expense.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear many have had problems with Swap.com. It's a great company that makes buying and selling quite easy. I understand the frustration when it takes them so long to process our boxes and it's annoying when I sometimes get stuff returned to me. It has taken me a few years to get in the groove of working with them. I've learned a few lessons and now having weekly sales. Purchasing from them is a no-brainer but if you need help in selling your used clothing you can sign up with my link. Be more than happy to help you find success in this simple business. It's pretty much a 'set it forget it' model. http://bit.ly/2nRH3Ei
You'll need to coyp-paste the link. Good luck with swap.com.

Anonymous said...

Definitely try Poshmark. Easy. Shipping and usually only 3 or 4 days before you receive or potentially sell your items. They send you a shipping label you package the item you sold. I've been very happy with it.

Dawn said...

Poshmark is okay. However, they are inundated with counterfeit purses. It is completely illegal for anyone to sell a counterfeit, replica, or inspired bag that has a fake brand name Logo. You can report these on Poshmark, but they rarely do anything about it. Be careful buying any name brand items off Poshmark.

mem said...

Eek. I read this blog post but not the comments below when I decided to sell on swap.com. Ugh. It was a terrible experience. I spent half a day laundering and carefully sorting through which items were in perfect condition. They took 2.5 months to get back to me and rejected several items that were NWT. I can't believe you have to pay to get your own stuff back. I agree with the posters who think it's a scam. I'd been buying from it for years but I will not anymore now that I've experienced the other side.

Janehoo said...

I haven't tried to sell anything on Swap.com, but I buy a lot and am a huge fan. I find the site very easy to navigate and there's a great selection of clothes from my regular go-to brands: Ann Taylor, Talbots, Banana Republic, Anne Klein. The prices are amazing, and returns are super easy. Plus, because I'm getting "recycled" clothes, I get to refresh my wardrobe without feeling guilty.

Anonymous said...

Up until recently, Swap.com was a great site. It has gone completely down hill. They are taking 3 months or longer to process items. Their quality control measures are completely arbitrary. They've rejected items I've sent in that were brand new and still had the tags on it or listed them as "fair condition." It's impossible to get anything more than a canned response. STAY AWAY.

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Rhonda Collins said...

Thanks for the detailed description of how it works. Very helpful.

For swapping free toys in your own community (read, no shipping fees), check out Toy-cycle.org