Beyond Craigslist: Classifieds Sites Cash In On Used Items

By Carolyn Said
San Francisco Chronicle.

Used stuff is hot on the Internet, with a bevy of new “re-commerce” websites to help people sell their castoffs.

EBay is making a foray into online classifieds with mobile app Close5. Meanwhile, specialized consignment sites are trying to simplify selling everything from secondhand designer apparel to used electronics and even used makeup — for a cut of the action.

“Americans have $1 trillion worth of value held hostage in our closets and garages,” said Lisa Gansky, an entrepreneur who has invested in Yerdle, an app that lets users exchange items for free. “If you think about redistributing that value, classifieds are one of the most efficient ways. Craigslist is a perfect example of one that has won the hearts and minds of people around the world.”

San Francisco’s Craigslist, which turns 20 this year, still rules the roost. In July, for instance, it drew 67.1 million unique U.S. visitors, or 60.1 percent of all U.S. traffic to the top 10 online classifieds sites, according to comScore. (It has ads for jobs, houses and personals in addition to those for stuff.) But it has stayed fairly traditional, leaving the door open for others to swoop in with different approaches.

A host of new marketplaces focus on specific niches, offering concierge-type service for folks wanting to unload used items without the hassle of doing it themselves.

“So much stuff out there deserves a happy second life,” said Bill Bobbitt, who co-founded “gently used” furniture consignment site Move Loot in 2013 after his own “painful and wasteful” move from Dallas to San Francisco. “It’s more sustainable to keep quality used furniture in the ecosystem.”

Specialty sites
Services like Move Loot and Viyet are specifically for selling furniture and decor; Shift, Beepi, Carlypso and Carvana are for cars; ThredUp and Twice (recently bought by eBay) are for clothes, and the RealReal is for designer apparel.

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