This is the fourth post in our series How Your Pawn Shop Can Sell Inventory Online.
Local is Your Focal Point
Your customers want products you’re selling, and they want them now. They don’t want to have to walk into a million stores to find the exact item they’re seeking, so they begin their search online.
Buyers who are looking for a deal on used goods, particularly those that might be bulky or expensive to ship, often check out local sales channels because of their affordability and convenience.
Roughly 47% of pawnbrokers have cited a decrease in retail sales. Customers are struggling to pay loans, leaving pawnbrokers with an excess of inventory. Should you use any local channels, or all of them, to sell your leftover loan collateral online? Today we’ll look at the most popular local sales channel: Craigslist.
Craigslist receives more than 50 billion pageviews a month and boasts over 60 million users a month. Bravo Pawn Systems in their webinar “Looking for a Profitable Future?” reports that 74% of pawnbrokers currently sell on Craigslist.
Pros of Selling Pawn Shop Inventory on Craigslist:
- It’s free! No setup or monthly cost.
- Pawnbrokers can buy goods on Craigslist that they then sell for a higher price in-store or on other channels like eBay and Amazon.
- Because you have a storefront, selling on Craigslist is safer than it would be if you were selling as an individual. It’s also safer for your buyer, who will feel much more comfortable coming to a store than to a stranger’s home to make a purchase.
- Users go on Craigslist looking for specific, unique, secondhand items, and they don’t expect there to be more than one. So when they find it, they’re going to jump on it. Pawnbrokers have an advantage in this kind of market.
- Unlike eBay and Amazon, Craigslist is an entirely local channel. Customers can find your merchandise online, then come to the store to buy it, potentially picking up other items while they’re there!
- Historically, one disadvantage of Craigslist was its interface, which was designed for desktop but not mobile. However, the mobile app CPlus is now an officially licensed partner of Craigslist.
- Your listing automatically remains active for 30 days.
Cons of Selling Pawn Shop Inventory on Craigslist:
- Craigslist has no automated posting—meaning that what you save in listing fees you might spend in man hours managing your listings.
- Certain categories on Craigslist are not free and require $3-$5 posting fees – including some categories your pawn shop might need to use.
- You’re not the only one who can buy things on Craigslist that you then sell in-store. Your customers can buy products on Craigslist and then sell them to YOU at a higher price.
- Although your listing remains active for 30 days, the sheer volume of items on Craigslist means you probably still need to repost every couple of days in order to have a chance of getting seen—adding to your man hours spent.
- Craigslist is notorious for its amount of scammers. You might receive 5 or more bogus offers before being contacted by a serious buyer. Your employees who monitor your Craigslist account have to be vigilant, and you have to account for potential time wasted on unqualified prospects.
What About E-Commerce Tools that Integrate with Craigslist?
Unfortunately, you won’t find many.
Tools like Crayzilla claim to provide support for Craigslist classifieds for $100 a month, including renewal scheduling, but most have limitations such as daily posting volume limits and distorted images that create a lot of work on the back end for you.
An e-commerce solution such as CrossPostIt can integrate with Craigslist in addition to the larger channels like eBay and Amazon. If you are a larger, multi-location pawnbroker, you can take advantage of Craigslist’s platform through an automated posting and syncing tool like CrossPostIt without wasting a whole lot of time.
However, we found mixed reviews of CrossPostIt. One user found the integration so clunky that he would have saved time by manually posting items. Also, he was not alerted when items sold, which meant that the tool didn’t really save time since he was having to constantly check Craigslist anyway. Notably, this review was left in 2016, so CrossPostIt may have improved since then.
We hope more e-commerce cross-channel solutions will include Craigslist integration in the future.
Is Craigslist Worth the Investment?
It’s free and easy to use. So if you’re a smaller operation, why not post a few items, especially some of your most valuable or specialty/niche merchandise? While posting, keep an eye out for items you may be able to pick up and sell at a higher price. During slow seasons, have staff fill out Craigslist ads as a profitable time filler.
The website seems to be an especially good solution for local, one-location pawn shops, but may not be as cost-effective for larger, multi-location pawnbrokers with more complicated inventory management needs.
Has your pawn shop used Craigslist? Tell us about your experience in the comments!