Photos: @Vforvanity via Carousell
You can tell Xue Er is a true beauty junkie. It’s not just her signature winged eyeliner and boldly lipsticked pout that give her away, nor her day job as a planner in the travel retail beauty sector – it’s what she does in her spare time.
You see, Xue Er runs one of the top beauty accounts (@Vforvanity) on Carousell, where she trades in the latest beauty products.
“I love beauty because it allows you to enhance or change your look according to your mood – I absolutely love the process of applying makeup and seeing a more beautiful me in the mirror!” says the 27-year-old.
It all takes time, though. Xue Er spends about one to 1.5 hours on the marketplace app every day, and even longer trawling for cool new items elsewhere. “I source most of my products online, directly from the source, and sometimes overseas when I’m on holiday,” she shares.
The lengths she goes to are clear when you look at her account – the beauty lover has almost 1,000 positive reviews and zero negative ones. Her sales turnover is also impressively healthy: She lists 10 to 15 items per week on average, and sells nearly as many in that timeframe.
So the savvy lass was a clear go-to when we wanted to find out the best way to trim our collection of beauty booty by selling it on Carousell. (She was very generous with her tips too!)
Ahead, check out @Vforvanity’s secrets to sell well on the app, from photography and packaging tips to that all important question: How to deal with lowballers?
What’s the most important part of each listing?
That would be the listing pic, as it attracts potential buyers to click on it. Item description is also important, as it gives the buyer a clear idea of what they’re getting for their money. I like to include measurements and highlight special details about the item.
What kind of photography works best for beauty products? Do you use photos you take yourself, or sourced images?
I like to use stock photos and sourced swatches so potential buyers can make a more informed choice about what they’re getting. But sometimes, the colours on stock photos may differ from the actual product – especially for lip colours, where they show up differently depending on the base. For regular products, I try to find at least two swatches.
For newly launched products where there’s not much info available online, I try to be as descriptive as I can about the product.
The official social media accounts of the products that you’re selling are a great place to start [sourcing for stock images], but check that you have the rights to use the photos! You can also check out hashtags – beauty bloggers may sometimes use the same hashtag in their posts and you could end up with more info/pics than you set out to find.
When you take your own photos, what are some tricks you use to make your shots look great?
For my listings, items taken against a clean background draw more likes and are likely to be sold faster. So I always take photos against a clean, usually white background. Less clutter in the background = more focus on the product! It allows potential buyers to have a clear view of what they are buying and a better idea of the condition of item.
Beauty products come with an expiry date. What are your five best tips to getting them to sell quickly?
· As soon as you decide that the item is not for you, list it quick!
· I usually list my items before/after work when people have time to look at their phones as they’re commuting to/from home (around 8am-9am or 7pm-8pm) and before bedtime (around 9pm-11pm). That’s when most of us are on our phones, swiping away.
· You’re allowed up to four photos per listing – max that out! Highlight unique details of what you’re selling.
· Be as descriptive as possible, to the extent of including beauty tips in your description so you can influence the buying decision and help them realise a need they didn’t know they have.
· Give a small discount to encourage buyers to complete the deal quickly.
In your experience, what sort of beauty products sell best?
Depending on seasonal trends, some products sell differently throughout the year. In general, I find Colourpop and Korean beauty products sell much faster than established beauty brands.
How do you “talent spot” an item to buy and sell?
I follow beauty accounts and popular personalities to spot makeup trends. The rest is just luck, haha!
What are some keywords to use when listing beauty items on Carousell?
I try to include suggested beauty tips (eg: “This fuchsia pink liquid lipstick would look amazing with muted brown eyeshadow or minimal eyeliner”) so that when others are searching for related products, they will be inspired to “complete the look”.
Beauty products can also be quite delicate to ship. What’s your advice for packaging them?
Bubble wrap is a lifesaver! I usually wrap the item in three layers of bubblewrap and put a “Handle with Care” remark on the envelope so the postman will treat it with extra TLC.
You have an amazing ratio of good reviews to negative ones! How do you deal with lowballers or unreasonable buyers?
I try to reason it out with lowballers – my prices are almost always close to what you get online (minus the waiting time), because I don’t buy to sell for profit, but rather to reduce shipping costs. So any lower and I’ll recommend them to get it straight from the website itself. I also encourage them to make an offer to close the deal if they’re still keen, otherwise there is no obligation for them to purchase from me.
Also, I prefer not to deal with buyers with a high negative feedback count (I use >20% or any negative feedback in the last three months as a gauge), so we don’t waste each other’s time.
Any additional tips to buying and selling online?
· Build a relationship with your repeat buyers! Share your latest discovery, obsession or talk about your beauty hits and misses – including that last purple lipstick that you thought would look good on your skin tone but ended up being a disaster. Chances are, they’ll also have some stories to share and it’s always good to know that someone else has actually been through the same thing.
· Search, search, search! Don’t stop at just one, compare across sellers before committing to a purchase.
· Found something really cheap and thinking it’s a deal too good to be true? It probably is. Whenever possible, always ask for proof of purchase from the seller and take a look at their feedback.
If the proof of purchase seems dubious, it’s best to give it a miss. After all, you don’t want to be applying mysterious substances to your face!
· It's always good to confirm the condition of the products you're getting. Check on the batch code to see if it’s been a while since manufacturing date (beauty products usually have a three-year shelf life or around 12 months after opening but varies across product types). I use checkcosmetic.net to decode batch codes and determine the use by date.
· Be upfront about defects and try not to overpromise. Apart from having a great product assortment and an attractive price point, trust can also help to set you apart from other sellers. :)