Selling your wedding dress online is one way to partially offset one of the largest expenses in your wedding budget. Here are 4 tips to get the most out of the experience.
Tip 1 – Understand the Market and Fee Structures
When it comes to selling your dress or dresses, you have many options. Some websites are full service while others connect you with buyers and you take it from there. If you do decide to sell there are a couple of things to take into consideration.
- Buy Back Bonus: If you bought your dress pre-owned some websites may have a deal for you to sell it with them. Some will even pay a percentage of what you bought the original dress for. For example, Nearly Newlywed (www.NearlyNewlywed.com) will give you 50-60% of the original purchase price back for the dress. That is a pretty good deal since they charge 25% to sell with them plus a listing fee.
- Multiple Websites: Some websites may have an exclusivity clause while others will let you post it regardless of any other places you have it listed. Make sure and read the terms but a good rule is websites that only act as a middleman between the buyer and seller usually do not have exclusivity requirements.
- Understand the Fees: There are typically 3 fees associated with the sale of a dress. First is the listing fee. Some sites do not charge to list and some do. You should not pay more than $25 to list. Second is the payment processing fee. Anytime a transaction is made with a credit or debit card there is usually a processing fee. This ranges from 3-5%. The recommended option by most sites is Escrow.com which charges 3.9%. Lastly, there is the cost of shipping. Usually you can pass this on to the buyer or include it in the cost of the dress. It includes both postage and packing material. Pre Owned Wedding Dresses has some great information on shipping a wedding dress. Check it out here: http://www.preownedweddingdresses.com/blog/the-best-way-to-ship-a-wedding-dress.
Tip 2 – Think like a Buyer
Putting yourself in the shoes of a buyer can help make sure you answer all of the questions up front so you do not have to waste time going back and forth. To better understand what buyers will be looking for you can read our blog post on 4 Tips to Buying that Perfect Pre-Owned Wedding Dress at a Price You Will Love. I will also provide some recommendations here to make things simple. You will obviously need to provide all of the basic information such as size, price, designer, style, etc… but in addition to those make sure you do the following.
- Great Photos: The photo is the first thing a potential buyer will see and therefore you have to do what you can to catch their attention. You should have high quality photos that are taken in natural light if possible. You should start with a photo of you in the dress. Then take photos of the dress from all angles on a solid background that does not blend in with the dress. Make sure and get close-ups of the unique features to emphasize its individuality.
- Original Price: If you purchased the dress new you can provide the original purchase receipt. If you purchased it pre-owned but got a copy of the receipt that will also work too. Just make sure and black out any personal information in both instances. You can also see if you can find the price of the dress online. Many wedding dresses are available for extended periods of time.
- Alterations: Note any alterations made to the dress by you or any previous owners. Make sure and also include photos of the alterations.
- Blemishes or Faults: The same thing that goes here. Make sure and note these upfront and include detailed information on photos.
- Return Policy: Understand that selling a dress online does require that you be more flexible with returns. Since they cannot try it on before purchasing it you want to provide that option. You can recoup any fees and shipping cost as a restocking fee. That is why sites like www.Escrow.com are great. They will hold the funds so you do not pay any processing fees unless the buyer accepts the dress.
- Other Information: You should include as much information specific to the dress as possible. Other items you want to include are any documents or information on the authenticity of the dress, detailed information on the fabrics used and the age of the dress. Make sure and also date stamp all of your photos if possible. Doing these things will help reduce any back and forth between potential buyers until they are interested in purchasing.
Tip 3 – Provide a Fair Price
Doing your research in advance and knowing what your dress is worth will help make sure that you are selling it at a fair price. If you bought the dress new you can expect the price to drop significantly but depending on the designer that amount varies. If you bought it pre-owned you can expect to sell it at approximately the same price you bought it unless you got a really good deal or additional damage was made to the dress.
You can look around and see what other people are selling similar dresses for. You can also see if you can find the dress new and see what that going rate is. It is not an exact science but you should be able to get a good idea of what to charge by spending some time looking around prior to listing it.
Tip 4 – Sell Your Dress Safely
Buying and selling things online does come with some inherent risks. That is why you must be prepared. The two safest options for selling your dress online are outlined below.
- Reputable Website: Some websites will handle everything for you. You simply pay the fees and send them the dress when someone is interested. This is a good option if you are not comfortable negotiating directly with a buyer or using an online payment processor. The fees are usually higher but it is mostly hands off once the dress is posted.
- Escrow.com: Many sites simply act as a middleman to connect buyers and sellers. It is then up to you and the buyer to negotiate the terms and the payment processor. We recommend you use www.Escrow.com for this because they hold the money until the buyer is satisfied with the product (or the inspection period expires). This provides protection against online fraud and helps make sure you can get your payment.
The website for selling a dress will have guidelines around working with buyers. Make sure and read them carefully because things change all the time. One things is for sure, it is never OK to receive money in the form of cash, money order, check or direct deposit directly from a buyer. You can receive these forms of payment from a payment processor or reputable website but not directly from a buyer. If you do, you will have no protection. More times than you would believe those payments are bogus and the person will just be reselling your product somewhere else for a quick profit.
If you purchase a pre-owned wedding dress and then sell it after the wedding you can significantly reduce your costs and still get an amazing dress. You also get the satisfaction of giving someone else a dress that they will love as much as you did. It can be a great experience and you may even make a new friend during the process.