Buying and selling used stuff is great: It’s truly “green,” as items get a second lease on life and some new love; buyers often get bargains, and sellers get to free themselves of something they didn’t really need anymore (plus, money!). Of course, yard sales and classifieds predate the Internet by many, many years, but once you bring the Web in, they go on overdrive (just like dating and “friending”). Previously, we’ve shown you five Craigslist-like websites, listed things you can feel safe about buying on Craigslist, and even featured an online market that’s just for buying and selling Android devices. Today I’d like to show you something a bit different: Three Android apps (not websites) for buying and selling used goods. All make heavy use of your phone’s camera, and work best if you live in a big city.
I’ll start with the nicest looking of all three apps: Shpock. I’m not sure what’s up with the name, but it sounds a bit like Sean Connery trying to pronounce a Vulcan’s name. The app itself is very visual, starting you off with a mosaic of stuff you can buy right now:
An individual item listing looks like this:
A photo of the item dominates the screen, followed by buttons for buying the item or asking the seller about it, and a short description with the price and location. In other words, all the information you could want about an item, crammed into one screen. This is nice, and doesn’t feel crowded.
Offering an item for sale is easy, too:
Okay, you got me, I’m not really selling my dented Sigg bottle. But you can see how easy selling is: Just snap a photo of your item, and fill in the title, description, category, and price. You can automatically share the item on Facebook, too.
Shpock is a lovely app, but its beautiful design won’t really matter for you if it doesn’t have traction in your area. If you install Shpock and can’t find any interesting items within a reasonable radius, it’s time to move on to the next option, Carousell.
Carousell is very similar to Shpock, but rather than start you off with a mosaic of actual items being sold, you’re presented with a category screen first:
Pick a category, and you’ll see a bunch of items… if there are any items in your area for that category. In my case, there were none, so I had to change my location. After telling Carousell I’m in San Francisco (which I’m not), I started getting interesting listings such as this Galaxy Note:
Granted, this is nothing you won’t find on eBay, but it does show the app is alive.
Posting an item for sale is similarly easy, and starts with you taking a photo. Here’s my dented Sigg bottle again, in case you guys want it:
Carousell actually lets you take more than one photo of your item, which is great for more complex objects such as cars and the like. The sell screen is more complex than Shpock’s:
I would say Carousell is not as elegant as Shpock, but is still perfectly usable. To pick between the two, you’d have to try both and see which one has better traction in your area (if any). That’s really the deciding factor — it’s tough to sell an item if nobody’s looking at it (or buy, when nobody’s selling).
Instagram (You Read That Right)
The third option may sound random: Instagram. It turns out Instagram is not just for making duck-faces or taking photos of food. Kottke recently published a piece about Kuwait’s booming Instagram economy — there are entire businesses revolving around selling items on Instagram. Slap a price tag on something, take a photo of it, and buyers will find you. Some people even use Instagram to sell sheep. Yes, that’s a real account, with real sheep for sale.
When I searched Instagram for #forsale, I found plenty of items from all over the world:
In terms of local traction in your area, this might be a better option than either Shpock and Carousell: Instagram is very popular just about anywhere, so it’s likely you have more Instagram users within driving distance than Shpock users. Now it’s just a matter of establishing your presence, and offering stuff people want.
Did you buy or sell anything using your smartphone? What app did you use, and how did the transaction go? Share your experiences in the comments!
Image Credits: Box of stuff Via Shutterstock