Buying and selling secondhand clothes online: a guide

Selling clothes online in NZ is easy with Trade Me and is a great way to make and save money.

Last updated: 23 May 2023

Selling secondhand clothes on Trade Me

Kiwi are keen-beans when it comes to buying preloved clothes – so declutter your wardrobe, prevent loading our landfills and make some easy cash by selling your used threads to a fast-growing market of sustainable shoppers.

How to sell secondhand clothes online with Trade Me

1. Take great photos

Fantastic photos are key to any great quality Trade Me listing – snap your secondhand stuff with style and watch the bids roll in:

  • Take photos in natural light on a plain background

Frame your item with plenty of neutral space and don’t forget to include photos from multiple angles, including closeups of any imperfections.

  • Photograph brand and care labels

Trade Me is a great place to sell vintage clothes, but whether your piece is an old-school one-off or simple staple, include shots of any labels to give buyers assurance about your item and what it’s made of.

  • Make your listing stand out with a strong feature image

Pop it on a coat hanger, lay it on the ground or model it yourself – do whatever gives your garment its chance to shine among a sea of other listings. Once you’re done taking photos from different angles, take a good look and decide which one shows the item in its best light.

  • Top tip: Style a ‘flat lay’ to give Watchers outfit inspo

If your buyers can imagine wearing that two-piece suit with sneakers or stilettos, they might be more inclined to place that bid.

Great photos make a great listing.

2. Provide a detailed description

When it comes to buying secondhand clothes online, shoppers are looking for information that gives them confidence to buy. So, if the info you provide is clear, factual and detailed, you’re more likely to enjoy a speedy sale:

  • Include keywords like brand, style, colour and fabric in your title

Be resourceful and specific about the words you use. ‘Zara white silk blouse’ will be more effective than ‘White top’. The best way to do this is think about how you would search yourself. Consider the search terms you would use if you were looking for your item, and weave them into your description.

  • Describe the condition, fabric composition and any flaws

Honesty is the best policy! If you don’t know what something is made of, say so, and do your best to provide as much information about its condition as you can.

  • Provide detailed measurements to avoid questions

Especially for pieces by international brands with unfamiliar sizing or if you’re selling vintage clothes, offering detailed measurements is a must.

  • Top tip: If you’re clearing out your closet, say so in your listing!

Let buyers know you’ve got more items for sale and if they connect with your style, they may just nab a few.

3. Price the item right

A super low reserve might deter bidders just as much as high one – do your research and nail that starting price:

  • Browse other listings to gauge what similar items are selling for

You can also use our Price Suggestor tool to figure out the perfect price for those Allbirds you’ve only worn once, or that retro frock in mint condition. If you’re listing on the app, it will auto suggest a start price based on similar items.

  • Attract a bidding war by setting a $1 reserve

A top tip for selling secondhand clothes on Trade Me is setting a $1 reserve to draw attention to your listing – but be mindful this strategy come with some risk, and is most effective for rare or popular items.

  • Add ‘Make an Offer’ for friendly haggling and faster sales!

Toggle on Make an Offer – accept, decline and make counter offers all in one place.

  • Top tip! List items by these popular brands

These labels have the best resale value – Lululemon, Country Road, Kowtow, Nike, Gorman, Augustine, Trelise Cooper, Juliette Hogan, Dr Martens, Moochi, Deadly ponies, Ruby, Decjuba, Twenty seven names, Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester, Zara and Saben.

Make everything super easy for your buyers.

4. Make everything easy as for buyers

Make your secondhand clothing listing as helpful and appealing as it can be to convince buyers to bid on your item over someone else’s:

  • Set your listing to close when most members are online

This is between 7-10pm, Sunday to Friday.

  • Add Ping for instant, in-app payment

Make it as easy as shopping in-person – if not easier – with Ping. You don’t need to manually manage payment and you’ll both be covered by Buyer Protection.

  • Use Book a courier to give Watchers an idea of shipping costs

Buyers prefer knowing the total cost before they bid, so remove uncertainty for them and avoid waiting in line at the post shop with our Book a courier service.

  • Top tip! Reuse old shopping bags to send out items with Book a Courier

Sustainably-minded shoppers will appreciate your attempts to reduce and reuse (plus, it’s cheaper for everyone!)

The fashion industry is responsible for a shocking 40 million tonnes of textile waste every year. The good news is that Kiwi love to buy secondhand clothes online, so give those conscious consumers what they’re looking for.

Buying secondhand clothes on Trade Me

Kiwi regularly sell secondhand clothes online, so whether you’re looking for a statement piece or a capsule collection – you’re likely to find exactly what you’re looking for on Trade Me!

Become part of the sustainable fashion loo

Why buy secondhand clothing?

Fashion trends come and go, but sustainability is here to stay. Not only can op shopping be enjoyed from the comfort of your couch, you’ll also:

  • Give items a second life

Consumption habits have almost doubled since 2000 so keeping preloved clothes out of landfill is, well, necessary.

  • Score great pieces at a fraction of their retail price

Lots of people sell secondhand clothes online because they’re trying to declutter, meaning that buying preloved fashion means you’ll never pay full price again!

  • Unearth unique vintage or handmade gems you won’t find anywhere else

Curate a wardrobe filled with one-of-a-kind finds that reflect your personality.

  • Top tip: If you fall in love with something in a high street store…

… do a quick search on Trade Me before buying new – you may get lucky!

There are gems aplenty on Trade Me.

Finding #TradeMeTreasure

Been looking for the perfect pair of converse/clogs/crocs? Thrifting and sifting through listings is easier with these search tips:

  • Use ‘personal style’ keywords in your search

Whether it’s a brand, colour or fabric you love, type keywords like ‘Gorman’, ‘mustard’ or ‘velvet’ for a collection of clothing tailored to you.

Select ‘used’, choose your size and filter to ‘New Zealand’ for local listings.

Keep an eye on the freshest listings and snag yourself a bargain.

  • Top tip: Set up saved searches for specific items you’re on the hunt for

You’ll be notified as soon as they’re listed!

Securing those finds

Once you’ve whittled down your search, it’s time to do everything you can to win that auction:

  • Wait until the last minute (literally!) to place your bid

Placing bids early on will only egg on other bidders and increase the price overall, so play it cool, then come in hot.

  • Use Make an offer

If the listing has Make an offer enabled, be a reasonable haggler and resist the urge to be cheeky – if you price it right, you’ll be in for a quick and easy win.

When setting your auto-bid amount, choose something random like $58.72 – don’t go with round numbers as they’re easy for others to guess.

  • Top tip: When you come across a piece you like...

...check out the seller’s other secondhand clothes listings – they might be doing a wardrobe clear out.

If you like the item, don’t leave it to chance

Avoiding disappointment

Avoid an online shopping faux-pas with these handy tips:

  • Always check a member’s feedback rating

A 98% or higher rating should ensure you’re in for an A+++ trade.

  • Never miss an auction

Don’t expect to remember when a listing’s closing – set an alarm on your phone to remind you instead.

  • Enable push notifications

Check your app settings to make sure you receive immediate updates when listings are closing, or if you’ve been outbid.

  • Top tip: Check listing descriptions carefully

Read the description and ask questions if needed so you know exactly what you’re bidding on!

Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of the sustainable fashion loop? Discover a huge range of online secondhand clothing in our clothing and fashion category and set up a saved search for your favourite brands today.

Search our range of secondhand clothing
Your wardrobe will thank you!
Secondhand gems