Vintage Finds 101: How to Sell Vintage Items Like a Pro

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by
Sara Miteva
March 1, 2023
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15 min read
Chinese girl holding vintage scarf

Do you want to sell vintage items online? Or maybe you are wondering whether this is a good idea? Don't worry, we got your back!

Vintage items are generally products or objects that are at least 20 to 30 years old and have a unique, timeless quality. Also, these items are often associated with a particular era, style, or trend and are valued for their quality, craftsmanship, and historical significance.

What's more, they confine a wide range of products, including clothing, jewelry, accessories, furniture, and home decor. So, you have your hands full with product choices.

Also, the USA online antiques and collectibles market is currently valued at $2.8 billion in 2023, with an average market growth of 5.3%. So, your opportunities are huge.

Ready for some extra info? In this article, we will provide you with the TOP facts about how to sell vintage items online. Let's start!

Finding Vintage Items to Sell

Research Popular Vintage Items and Niches

If you want to find the best vintage items to sell online, the first thing you should do is conduct research.

Thankfully, you have various options nowadays. First, you can simply do it on your own. Just open Google and start typing. Thus, you can use keywords like "best vintage products", or similar. However, keep in mind that this can be a daunting task.

For example, if you have a certain product in your mind, you can check on Google Trends results, and popularity.

So, if you want to save time, Shopify offers various product research tools, like Sell The Trend or Ecomhunt, that will list the winning products for a certain niche.

Moreover, you can always take advantage of doing a little spying on your competitors. Thus, check on their " Trending Products" page, or "Best Selling items", etc. Or, simply visit huge online marketplaces like eBay, or AliExpress, and check it out there.

Furthermore, there are many bloggers and influencers who specialize in vintage fashion, decor, and collectibles. So, follow them on social media and read their blogs to stay up-to-date on the latest vintage trends and niches.

Last but not least, vintage items are related to specific historical trends and eras. Researching these trends and periods can help you identify popular vintage items and niches that are in demand. For example, mid-century modern furniture is a popular vintage niche in the 1950s and 1960s.

Locate Sources for Vintage Items

When selling vintage products, this might be one of the most important steps if you want to succeed. Wondering why?

First, selling antiques often involves dealing with one-offs or minimum quantities of each item. This implies you're more likely to spend a significant amount of time searching for and purchasing new stock.

Therefore, we will recommend you some options:

Thrift Stores and Estate Sales 

Thrift stores and estate sales often have unique and one-of-a-kind items that cannot be found in traditional retail stores. Thus, this gives you an opportunity to build on a brand.

Furthermore, Vintage items can be expensive when purchased through traditional retail channels, but thrift stores and estate sales often offer these items at a fraction of the cost.

So, this also is a way to make money. If you have knowledge of vintage items and their value, you may be able to purchase items at a low price and sell them for a profit.

However, estate sales and thrift stores can be overwhelming, so it's essential to have a plan. Therefore, do your research, make a list of the items you're looking for, and set a budget.

This will help you stay focused and avoid overspending.

We recommend you use estate sales if you need to clear out an entire house. Depending on the assessed worth of the home, these firms may provide different packages.

Auctions

Vintage products are often rare and unique, which means that they can be highly sold by collectors and enthusiasts. Therefore, auctions are a great place to find vintage products that are not easily available elsewhere.

Understanding how much an antique may possibly sell for is critical to auction success.

However, keep in mind that, it's all too easy to find yourself in a situation to compete with other dealers or collectors and wind up spending much too much, making it impossible to turn a profit.

Therefore, take your time and evaluate the products available for sale, Then, only bid on those you are certain you can resell.

Evaluate the Condition and Authenticity of Vintage Items

It's important to check the condition and authenticity of vintage items if you're buying, collecting, or selling them. Therefore, here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Research the item to learn about its history - Check on when it was made, and what materials were used. This will help you know what to look for when checking the condition and authenticity.
  • Check for product damage - Look at the item closely to see if it's damaged, worn out, or has been repaired. Check if anything has been added or changed. Look for marks, labels, or signatures that might confirm it's real.
  • Compare the item to other similar ones from the same time period, maker, or designer. If there are any differences, it could mean it's not real or has been altered.
  • Ask an expert to check it out if you're not sure. They can help you verify if it's authentic. This might mean talking to a specialist or an appraiser who knows about this kind of item.

Accordingly, keep good records of what you find, including pictures and notes. This will help you remember what you looked at and what you found out about the item.

We recommend you use auctions if you wish to sell a high-ticket vintage product. In fact, a well-publicized auction is an excellent approach to selling a unique object.

Setting up Your Business Online

One of the first steps in starting an online business is choosing a name for your business. However, you must think strategically here!

Your business name should be memorable, easy to spell and represent your brand. Once you have selected your business name, you will need to register your business.

Depending on where you are located, this may require you to obtain a business license, register with the state or local government or obtain any necessary permits.

For example, if you are not familiar with them, you can visit your state's government website to learn more about the specific requirements for registering your online business.

Furthermore, depending on the state or locality where you are selling vintage items, there may be specific laws or regulations that apply, such as licensing requirements, taxes, or zoning regulations. Therefore, keep yourself informed before starting your online business, and make sure you can complete them.

Nonetheless, be aware of any trademark or copyright laws that may apply to the vintage items you are selling. You should not use any trademarks or copyrighted materials without permission or authorization from the owner.

Another important consideration is determining the structure of your business. This will depend on the type of business you want to start and your goals for growth.

However, before going any step further on launching your online business, it's important to create a business plan.

Thus, your business plan should include information about your target audience, marketing strategies, financial projections, and any other important details related to your business.

Next, let's get you the best sales platform!

Selling Your Vintage Items - Choose your sales platform(s)

Thankfully, nowadays you have various options to sell vintage products online. However, you must find the one that meets your online business needs. 

Therefore, we will list you the TOP places to sell vintage items online.

Where to Sell Antiques

1. Online Marketplaces 

Etsy
etsy

 Etsy is a popular marketplace for vintage, handmade, and unique products. It has a large community of buyers and sellers and offers various features to help you sell your vintage products.

Moreover, the Etsy product category is huge, having items from accessories to clothing, and home decor.

However, getting your items to stand out without paying advertising costs may be tough. Most sellers will be required to pay Etsy a 15% commission on purchases earned by automated advertising.

eBay
sell vintage online

 eBay is another popular online marketplace where you can sell vintage products. In fact, if you want to sell vintage items on the online marketplace, this might be your best option.  It has a large user base and offers various selling tools to help you manage your listings and sales.

Thus, here you will find vintage products under the Collectibles & Art → Antique category. 

Also, eBay requires sellers to follow certain listing practices when selling vintage items.

These include using accurate and truthful titles, descriptions, and photos, and offering a reasonable return policy. What’s more, they define a certain product as “vintage” if it is at least 20 years old.

Ruby Lane
sell vintage online

Ruby Lane is a marketplace specifically for vintage and antique products. It has a curated selection of vintage items and attracts serious buyers and collectors.

Despite many dealers thriving on Ruby Lane, the site is closely curated, and being allowed to sell here is more difficult than on Etsy.

Also, Ruby Lane rewards active sellers by featuring their items more prominently on the platform. To increase your sales, stay active on the platform by listing new items, participating in sales events, and engaging with the Ruby Lane community.

2. Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms have the largest customer base. However, you already know that the most popular social media platforms for online shopping are Facebook and Instagram. And, we won’t deny it. 

But for vintage products, we highly recommend you try Pinterest. In fact, users of this platform are usually creatives and artists, which are potential online antique buyers. So, this helps you to create targeted ads that reach people who are interested in vintage products.

Pinterest is a great place to show off vintage products because it's a platform where people share lots of pictures. You can make special collections and posts that display your vintage items and show what makes them special.

This lets people who might want to buy your items see them up close and get an idea of how nice they are.

Now, let’s see the BEST place for selling antiques online.

Selling Antiques with Shopify

sell vintage online

Shopify is a popular e-commerce platform that can be a great option for selling vintage items.

First, this platform allows you to create a custom storefront that reflects your brand and showcases your vintage items in a way that resonates with your customers. 

Also, Shopify has a range of powerful features that make it easy to sell vintage items online. These include a secure payment gateway, customizable shipping options, and an easy-to-use inventory management system.

However, if you want to sell vintage items on Shopify, the first thing you need to do is set up a Shopify store. Here’s what you should do: 

Step 1 - Sign up for Shopify 

To get started, visit the Shopify website and sign up for an account. You'll need to provide your email address, business name, and other basic information to create your account.

Step 2 - Choose a Shopify plan

shopify pricing

Shopify offers several different pricing plans, so choose the one that best fits your needs and budget. Thus, there are three pricing plans available: 

  • Basic - $24/month
  • Shopify Regular - $69/month
  • Advanced - $299/month

Step 3 - Choose a theme

Shopify offers a wide range of customizable themes that you can use to create the look and feel of your vintage store. Therefore, choose a theme that reflects your brand and showcases your vintage items in an appealing way.

Step 4 - Add your products

Once you have a theme in place, it's time to add your vintage products to your store. You can do this by going to the "Products" section of your Shopify dashboard and adding each item individually, including the item's name, description, photos, and price.

Step 5 - Set up payment and shipping

Next, you'll need to set up payment and shipping options for your store. Shopify offers a range of payment gateways, such as 2Checkout, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and Stripe, as well as customizable shipping options that you can tailor to your vintage items.

Step 6 - Customize your store

To create a unique and memorable vintage store, customize your storefront by adding a logo, banners, and other visual elements that reflect your brand and vintage style.

Step 7 - Launch your store

Once you have added your vintage items, set up payment and shipping, and customized your storefront, it's time to launch your store. Thus, simply go  to the "Settings" section of your dashboard and select "Launch Website."

Tips To Sell More Vintage Items

In addition, here are the best tips if you want to boost your sales of vintage items.

Use high-quality photos and informative product descriptions

High-quality photos are crucial when selling vintage items. Since they have a sentimental value for customers, you must provide them with more creative pictures, or make them the best scenario.

Take clear, well-lit photos of your items from multiple angles to give potential buyers a good idea of what they are purchasing. Make sure to capture any details or imperfections that might affect the value of the item.

For example, take a look at Jason Home's products.

vintage products

What's more, don't forget to write informative product descriptions. Thus, you can write about the product materials, dimensions, color, how to use them, and sustainability.

Likewise, vintage items often have unique features or characteristics that set them apart from modern-day items.

So, make sure to highlight these features in your product descriptions and photos. For example, if you are selling a vintage dress, mention its unique cut, fabric, or embellishments that make it special.

This way, you will give customers a sense that they interact with serious online business. The results you get - customer trust and satisfaction! Believe us, that is priceless.

Tell a story about the product

As we already know, vintage items have historical significance. So, conducting a little research, and writing some story about certain product origins won't hurt!

Also, you can add some old photos related to the story, and give customers a feel about that era.

For instance, Etsy really has its ways with this.

vintage description

Set affordable prices

While vintage items can be valuable, it's important to offer reasonable prices to attract buyers. Therefore, you can research similar items that have sold recently to get an idea of what buyers are willing to pay.

For that purpose, check out some popular online marketplaces that sell vintage, and see what customers mostly buy, and at what price.

For example, if you visit Etsy, you can check on the same product type at different sellers and see which one sells the most.

Also, be open to negotiation, but also know your limits and be willing to walk away if the offer is too low.

Use signature confirmation for expensive items

Signature confirmation is a way to make sure that the right person gets a package. Hence, the person who gets the package has to sign for it or have someone else sign for it. This makes it more secure and makes sure that the package gets to the right person.

In fact, signature confirmation will protect you against abusive customers and "item not received" claims if you are selling high-value vintage items.

For example, if you want to acquire seller protection on eBay, you must have signature confirmation for products worth more than $750.

Offer Product Bundles

If your online vintage items are not selling well, you always have an option. So, instead of giving up on the product, you can pair it with similar products, and offer them as bundles.

For example, you can make them a story behind, make a certain combo from the items, and there you go! If not the item by itself, you can always sell a story!

Marketing Your Vintage Business

If you want to boost your sales online, marketing is the key! So, to stand out in the crowded vintage market it is essential to develop a strong marketing strategy

Develop a brand identity and create a logo and website

It is important to develop a strong brand identity that reflects your unique style and aesthetic

When it comes to vintage, this includes creating a memorable logo and website that showcase your vintage items and brand story.

Use social media platforms

This is where most of the customers are active. For example, there are 2.963 billion people who use Facebook. And, all of them might be your potential customers.

So, all these platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook can be powerful tools for promoting your vintage business and reaching potential customers. 

Use these platforms to share photos and stories about your vintage items, engage with your audience, and build relationships with other vintage enthusiasts.

Use Shopify Tools 

Shopify offers a variety of tools for boosting sales and increasing conversion rates

One of them is the 60 Seconds app. You may set up predefined discounts, which also leads to motivated clients' strong buy intent.

60 seconds

But, keep in mind that you have complete control because you get to define the range in which consumers may set prices and discounts for your items.

In fact, they send you a request which needs to be accepted by you in the first place.

You can also utilize a customized widget in conjunction with this Shopify app to deliver these offers to hesitant clients.

Furthermore, the 60 Seconds app assists you by growing traffic to your online store.

Build relationships with other vintage sellers and enthusiasts

Networking with other vintage sellers and enthusiasts can be a great way to expand your network and learn new strategies for promoting your vintage business.

Therefore, you should consider joining online vintage communities, attending vintage events, and reaching out to other sellers to build relationships and share ideas.

Conclusion

Starting a vintage online store can be challenging since these products hold onto a specific story and customer style and creativity. However, if you have all the right tools and resources, you are more than good to go! 

Therefore, first, be sure to develop an online business plan. Also, find the best vintage products for you. Fortunately, you have various options for that, like searching for yourself, using Shopify product research tools, or simply searching the biggest online marketplaces. 

Next, choose your platform for selling your items. Thankfully, you have various options, like online marketplaces, social media platforms, and eCommerce platforms. In our opinion, Shopify is one of the best eCommerce platforms for selling vintage products online. 

Thus, you can set up your store, choose a theme, customize it the way it describes your brand, and start! 

Lastly, using marketing tactics and tools, like the 60 Seconds app is crucial for bringing potential customers to your store, and boosting sales

On the other hand, remember that the vintage industry has grown in popularity in recent years, with an increasing number of consumers interested in buying unique, one-of-a-kind items with a sense of history and nostalgia.

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