If you wanted to sell or buy stuff online in the old days, you had two options: Craigslist and eBay. To sell on Craigslist, you set up an online classified ad, arrange to meet a buyer, and hopefully get a good price on whatever you’re selling. If you’re buying, you find the right ad, arrange to meet the seller, and cross your fingers that you don’t spend more than you have to. If you’re lucky, it’s a smooth transaction, but more often than not, Craigslist can be one big headache.
eBay is similar in many ways, except it connects you to a larger audience and gives you a little more protection thanks to tools like PayPal. However, people can and still do get scammed on both of these platforms.
Fortunately, in the last decade, new online buying and selling websites have popped up across the internet that have made it safer and more profitable for both sellers and buyers.
Established in 2010, Swappa’s mission is “to offer the best marketplace for buying and selling used consumer electronics.” Have they accomplished this? With online shopping platforms, it’s difficult to say that one is “better” than the rest, but Swappa is a clear leader in the used consumer electronics market.
In this Swappa review, we’ll take a closer look at Swappa both from the buyer side and the seller side. Let’s get started!
Buyer And Seller
Swappa User Experience
The Swappa website is clean and easy to use. It’s very image-centric with few words on the main page describing what they do, but it’s fairly obvious once you click around a bit. The tagline is “Safe, friendly marketplace with no junk, less fees.” That’s a little vague, so we needed to delve a little deeper. Their fees page was buried behind a few menus, but we found it.
As it turns out, Swappa is definitely a seller’s marketplace. Sellers are not charged any fees to list their products. Buyers are charged a sales fee and then charged again by Paypal when they complete the transaction. This doesn’t mean you can’t get a good deal at Swappa, but it’s important to know what the fees are before you make any transactions.
Here’s some good news. You do not have to bid to secure an item on Swappa. Prices are set by the seller and buyers can communicate with sellers directly during the sales process. This makes the user experience better, but the somewhat hidden fees bring our user experience score down a bit. We’re going to rate them an eight out ten in this category.
Swappa Buyer And Seller Security
With all sales processed through Paypal, Swappa does offer a high level of buyer and seller security. The buyer is protected if the device they buy is blacklisted or is not as advertised when delivered. The seller is guaranteed to get paid before they ship the product. Paypal has been around since 1998 and is considered one of the safest of all payment processors.
Buyers are granted an additional layer of protection by Swappa’s verification process. All sellers are required to provide documentation, verification photos, and submit to an ESN check to ensure phones and tablets are clear for activation. All buyers are eligible for a refund if the device they order is not satisfactory. That refund also includes the buying fee.
Our rating for buyer and seller security on Swappa is a ten. They seem to have covered all the bases. That said, it would be nice if they had more than one payment processor. Paypal is great, but not everyone wants to use it. We haven’t seen any issues at Swappa directly related to their payment processor, but there have been reported issues with customer support at Paypal.
Swappa Is The Marketplace
Swappa doesn’t buy or sell anything. All transactions are between buyers and sellers. In this regard, Swappa is similar to eBay. However, Swappa tends to offer lower fees. Take a look at price differences between the two platforms here:
Pay close attention here. On Swappa, sellers don’t actually pay a fee. Instead, the buyer pays a flat fee based on the value of the product. This alone gives Swappa a major edge of eBay.
Swappa also helps you figure out pricing to give you a more accurate estimate of the profit you’ll actually net.
But you are responsible for the device itself and its condition until the buyer arrives at it, so don’t use cheap shipping as a place to squeeze a little more out of your customer.
Buying On Swappa
Now that you’ve learned what both buyers and sellers on Swappa need to know, let’s focus in on the buying side.
Swappa Product Selection
What we feel is most intriguing about Swappa is that they offer only consumer electronics and related services on their website. Categories include iPhones, phones, laptops, watches, tablets, video games, cameras and home tech. If you’re looking for home goods or clothing, you’ll need to go elsewhere. This specific niche market is what separates Swappa from its competitors.
Another great inclusion in their product line is phone plans. Swappa doesn’t just sell you a used iPhone or Android. They list all the available phone plans for their devices so you can activate and be up and running right away. You can even find local phone repair services listed by state for searching convenience. Call one of them first. You might not need a new phone.
On a scale of one to ten, Swappa Product Selection is definitely a ten. If you’re looking to add to that selection by selling your own used electronics, visit their selling page for estimated pricing on your items. There are criteria for sale there and you can review Swappa’s market policies. You must register and become a member to either buy or sell anything on the site.
Tips For Buying On Swappa
If you convert our rating to a five-star system, you’re looking at roughly a 4.7. That should be enough to convince you to use Swappa. If you agree, we have some shopping suggestions for you. Begin by creating a user profile on the site and opening a Paypal account. Next, spend some time exploring the platform. Search functions are pretty straightforward.
The rest of the functions should be fairly easy to figure out, particularly if you’ve used an online shopping platform in the past. If you get stuck, there’s plenty of support content available on the Swappa Blog and on their Help Page, which includes frequently asked questions. Review these resources to get a better understanding of how the site works.
Two other helpful suggestion we can offer are related to the buying process itself. First, don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price. Use the comment box. Sellers will sometimes come down on their price if an item has been listed for a while. Second, be sure to check the seller ratings. It’s best to do business with someone who has a good track record on Swappa.
Swappa Customer Reviews
According to Sitejabber, which is an online ratings site, Swappa has a consumer rating of 4.78 stars based on just under three thousand customer reviews. That’s pretty good. In our system, that’s basically 9.5 out of a possible ten. Combined with the other areas we’ve reviewed, it appears that Swappa is the real deal. Here’s a summary of our grades.
Now we’ll take a more in-depth look at the selling side of Swappa. We’ll also give you tips for how to sell your items to make the most money, in the fastest time.
What You Can Sell On Swappa And Rules
Swappa isn’t like Amazon Marketplace or eBay, where you have a much larger range of products you can sell. You won’t be able to clear out your garage selling things like old lamps and playing cards here.
Swappa only accepts these products:
- Home tech products like Ring or smart lights
- Video games consoles and games
You should know that within these categories, there may also be limitations. For example, Swappa currently only markets Apple, Samsung, Google, Motorola, LG, HTC, and OnePlus phones.
You also cannot sell any broken products on Swappa. While it’s okay if there is a little wear and tear, the item must more or less function.
Finally, Swappa does allow you to sell brand new products. This can be really helpful since many buyback sites will have a lag time before they retail the latest model devices.
How Swappa Selling Works
Selling on Swappa is very easy. Head over to the “Sell’ section of the site. Then type whatever you want to sell into the search bar.
You can then browse product variations and see the average price buyers have gotten for the device. Then hit “Sell My Device”
Then answer to fill out some basic information about the product. Swappa will give you a suggested price, but you’re free to change it. Once ready, you can hit publish.
Swappa will generally approve a listing within a few hours. However, many factors will determine how quickly your product will sell.
Selling Things Quickly On Swappa
The most important is what you’re trying to sell. Used iPhones tend to go pretty fast while it may take a while to find somebody interested in a second-hand smart thermostat (although you may be surprised about that!)
Here a few tips from expert sellers to help you speed up the process:
1. Competitive Price
You don’t have to sell your items for a rock-bottom price, but listings priced too high are the least likely to move. Stick with the Swappa suggestion and consider even going 5-10% lower.
Wouldn’t you rather sell something like an iPhone XR for $400 in 2-3 days rather than wait weeks or not even sell something because you wanted an extra $20? This is doubly true in the most competitive areas like smartphones and tablets where you’ll always have the threat of a new release right around the corner.
2. Opt For A Featured Listing
Some items have hundreds of listings with new ones created hourly. You can upgrade to a Featured Listing for just $5, which will make your product much more visible.
Featured Listings have the following perks:
- Pinned at the top above non-featured listings
- Highlighted in yellow to attract more attention
- Listing notice Tweeter to all followers of @SwappaMucho
3. Aim For Accuracy And Detail
Take five minutes to really describe the condition of the product. Be honest and mention why you’re selling as well. It’s reassuring to people to hear that nothing may be wrong with a product, but you just want a change.
Talk about things you’ve done to protect the item like screen covers, system upgrades, or anything else that protects its lifespan.
Finally, take lots of pictures from every angle. If there’s a small scratch on the back, then show them. This will add immensely to your credibility and enhance the buyer’s trust, which is particularly important if you plan on repeat selling.
More Tips For Selling On Swappa
If you’re just looking to dump some old electronics, don’t list them on Swappa. The difference with this online shopping site is that buyers expect to pay what your item is worth, not a price that is over-inflated by user bidding. Try to stick to the pricing guidelines. The buyer can see them too, so don’t list an item for more than it’s worth. Going slightly under is better.
Remember to include any shipping costs you’ll incur as part of the price. Swappa gives you the option of adding express shipping, so check with your preferred courier to find out how much one-day delivery costs. A lightning bolt will be displayed next to your listing if you make this choice available, so it’s a good option to include. It may help you sell your item faster.
Include a heading and detailed description. These are optional, but more information is always better when selling online. You can also make your listing a featured listing by paying a $5 fee. This will move your listing closer to the top of the list and earn you a star icon. If you have that and the lightning bolt, you’re more likely to draw heavy traffic.
Is Selling On Swappa Worth It?
Swappa is one of the best places to sell electronics. Compared to direct buyback programs, you can get a higher price for your items, and it also offers a fairly wide range of products you can sell.
Likewise, it’s also easy to use and much less of a hassle than coordinating and communicating with buyers via Craigslist.
Don’t forget the best part of Swappa is that you don’t pay any fees to use it—the buyer does!
- No listing fees
- Buyer pays fees
- Safer than eBay or Craigslist
- Easy to use
- Can set your own return policy
- Payments are swift and secure through PayPal
- Swappa team does a good job monitoring the site
- Payments only go through PayPal
- Listing do expire after a period of time
- You’re responsible for the condition of the device until the buyer receives it
Final Thoughts: Swappa Comparisons
How does Swappa stack up to its competitors? You could always buy or sell stuff on eBay. eBay has a larger digital footprint, but every product is sold “as is.” That leaves the buyer open to getting junk instead of quality. The same thing can be said about Craigslist. You could end up dealing with a complete stranger whose identity has only been verified by email. Swappa’s vetting process eliminates that concern.
Another feature that sets Swappa apart from their competitors is that they only use Paypal for purchases. It protects the buyer and the seller. Craigslist has no set payment structure. Gazelle takes checks. When we mentioned alternate payment methods above, we were talking about other payment processors, not paper checks that can be forged or stolen.
Perhaps the biggest advantage that Swappa has is the level of community trust they’ve earned by successfully facilitating thousands of consumer electronics sales. They have an incredible five-star rating (5) on Trustpilot compiled from nearly seven thousand customer reviews. Gazelle (2.3), eBay (1.5), and Craigslist (1.5) don’t even come close to that.