Disadvantages of Selling Online

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disadvantages of selling online


Selling things online is one of the best side hustles out there. The money from flipping can be used to pay off debt or put into a savings account. Selling things on sites like eBay & Mercari is one of my favorite side hustles. I’ve even started a small resell business out of it for the last few years. 

Some people think that every day will be great for sales. There will be some ups and downs. Many bloggers or influencers only talk about the good when it comes to selling. Today we will discuss some disadvantages of selling online.

Disadvantages of Selling Online

Slow Days

When it comes to selling online, there will be some slow days. For some reason, only some get this. They list an item and expect it to sell within the hour. In most cases, it doesn’t work like that. It can take time for your items to sell. Make sure that the things that you list have sold recently. You have to make sure that there is a market for it. If not, you are wasting your time. Also, make sure that you price it correctly. If your item is listed too high, it could sit for months. You don’t want that to happen.


This one grinds my gears the most. I’m not too fond of flakers. A flaker is a person that says they are going to do something, but they don’t. When selling online, you will get notifications or messages from people who are interested in an item. You may message them once or twice, and all seems well. Then you try to set up a meeting date, and all you hear are crickets. I wonder why people waste your time if they are uninterested in the item. I’ve experienced flakers on every site I sell on, even eBay. That’s part of the reason that I don’t do many auctions anymore. People would win the auction and never pay. It was very frustrating. The amount of flakers that I get varies on every site. Hands down, I get the most on OfferUp. People are just bored or love to troll on that site.


The lowballers are damn near as bad as the flakers. I’ve gotten to the point where I ignore most of them. People have offered me $30 for an item listed at $100. I need help understanding the logic behind that. I’m all for giving people deals but don’t lowball me. People will try to lowball you on every platform. As a seller, you can counter, but it’s not even worth it most of the time.

The Economy

The economy can play a massive part in your sales. If people have tons of extra money around, they will spend more. However, you will make less money if a recession starts or inflation gets out of hand. If the economy isn’t the best, be prepared to ride the wave. Things will improve, and when they do, you will make more money. 


Unless you have an exclusive one-of-a-kind item, someone else will be selling the same thing that you are. How do you make sure you can sell yours? You can do a few things to make sure that your item sells.

Price – You can list your item for a slightly lower price than your competitors.

Shipping – You can offer free shipping on your item.

Pictures – Take better photos of the item than your competitor. You can take more than them as well. eBay allows you to post up to 24 pictures per item. You should take advantage of that.

Multiple places – List your items on other sites. I list many of my items on various sites. You can find them listed on eBay, Bonanza, and Craigslist. The more places you list your items, the sooner they will sell.


Next up on the list of disadvantages of selling online is returns. You can choose whether or not you want to offer returns on your items on most sites. I don’t offer returns, but I do get a return request occasionally on eBay. If the thing is an article of clothing that needs to be bigger or something that breaks due to me not packaging it correctly, I’ll accept the return and give a refund. When you list your items, make sure that you describe them accurately. That way, you can eliminate the chances of returns.

Under-Estimating Shipping Costs

In the beginning, I took a few losses on shipping charges. I didn’t know any better and thought my estimates would be on point. Unfortunately, I lost money a few times. I don’t want that to happen to you. If you want to ensure you don’t lose money shipping, get a scale. Here is the scale that I use. Hands down, it was one of the best investments I made for my business.

Check out some of my other shipping tools here

If you offer free shipping, make sure you raise your item’s price by a few bucks to offset that shipping charge. Tons of sellers do that so that they don’t lose money.

Mistakes With Postings

Occasionally, you will make a mistake or two with your listings. One big issue that I see on listings is spelling. People have words spelled wrong in the title. That’s a huge no-no. With your listing having misspelled words, there’s a chance that it won’t appear when people search for your item. I also see misspelled words in the description. You have to take the time and review those things once or twice. A tool called Grammarly helps me with my spelling and grammar. It checks every sentence for spelling and grammar errors.

For more info about Grammarly, click on this link.

Another mistake is that people don’t take the best pictures. They are too dark, or they need a solid background. You want to ensure your pictures are bright and look good to your potential buyers.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this post about some disadvantages of selling online. Every day won’t always be a big selling day, but if you keep at it, you will make more sales. Realize that these things do happen from time to time, but you can still make money. Don’t give up.

Check out these posts about selling online:

8 Places to Sell Stuff Online for Cash

eBay items not selling? 14 Changes to Make ASAP

100 Best Things to Sell on eBay

Best Brands to Sell on Poshmark in 2023

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Jason Butler is the owner of My Money Chronicles, a website where he discusses personal finance, side hustles, travel, and more. Jason is from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Savannah State University with his BA in Marketing. Jason has been featured in Forbes, Discover, and Investopedia.