Kijiji Review: Better than eBay for Hot Rods and Guitars

Our eBay columnist tries the auction site's local classifieds Kijiji and recommends it for low-profit merchandise and hard-to-ship items.

Despite having bought and sold many items using the eBay auction Web site, for the most part I've steered clear of posting to classified ads sites, except for smaller local forums with buy and sell threads. Last week however, I took a look at my local Kijiji classifieds site (halifax.kijiji.ca) and was quite impressed with the ease of layout and also the volume of listings.

 

For those unfamiliar with Kijiji, it is a subsidiary of eBay Inc., and it is essentially a network for posting local classified ads. Kijiji has individual Web sites for specific countries including the United States, Canada, China, Taiwan, Germany, India and others.

Once you visit your country's Kijiji Web site, you then choose the city or town that is the closest to where you live, and there you can view and place classified ads. Last year Kijiji, which was mainly International-based, was launched in the U.S. and is now considered the largest competitor with the free classifieds site, Craigslist.

Local classifieds are an excellent option for online sellers who have larger items that are difficult to ship or low-profit items where eBay and PayPal fees really cut into the overall net gain.

One thing I found in my experience in selling large items using Kijiji is that once you make that initial contact with a prospective buyer, you need to be proactive and open up a direct and engaging dialog to move your potential customer from interest to sale. In contrast, on eBay selling is pretty straightforward. When a successful listing ends, sellers then invoice the winning buyer, wait for the payment and ship the item. On Kijiji and other classified sites, the sale is a bit more time consuming as you may find yourself going back and forth in e-mail with the probable buyer to provide more information, haggle over the price and schedule pick-up or viewing times.

It's important for eBayers to remember that on Kijiji there is no contractual agreement if someone sends you an offer. Using Kijiji also means that buyers and sellers do not have any protection or any means to conduct the transaction online through the site. Kijiji is just the venue that allows others to find what you are selling — you simply post your classified ad and interested buyers contact you by e-mail directly from the listing page itself. Everything that is required to complete a transaction is up to you to manage off-site.

Listing, Selling and Good Communication

When I first started listing on Kijiji I noted right away that you were not required to register and create an account. You only need to provide a valid e-mail address to confirm your ad. The e-mail confirmation will contain the links to edit and manage your ad.


Kijiji Registration
Registering for an account on Kijiji lets you quickly view and access all your ads without e-mail confirmations.
(Click for larger image.)

 

By choosing to register for free on the site, though, you can easily access all your ads under "Manage My Ads," and each ad post or edit you make will not require a further e-mail confirmation. By registering you can also reserve a nickname and use the online discussion boards.

 

After joining your local Kijiji classifieds site, to post an ad you just need to click the "Post an Ad" tab along the top of the page, choose an appropriate category to list in and then the ad creation page will load. Next you will need to provide the following details: location, title, description, ad type ("I am offering" or "I want") and the asking price. On the ad creation page you can also upload a maximum of four images (with a maximum file size of 4MB). It takes only a couple of minutes to actually list your ad using this basic, single-screen form.

 

I found that with Kijiji I was able to get a good response from prospective buyers even when I used a short item description. On eBay I find being more descriptive works better.

 

I started off with creating an account and listing a couple of guitars. These were items that I never listed on eBay because the shipping costs would really inflate the overall price of the item, making them less of an attractive deal. Within 24 hours I had over a dozen offers, so I listed two more and my first sale followed three days later, along with two more view/pick-up dates scheduled with interested buyers. One week after posting the guitar ads I still received daily offers or e-mails about the remaining two unsold items.


Kijiji Ad Creation
Creating an ad on Kijiji is as simple as filling out a single screen form and uploading images
(Click for larger image.)

 

Being thrilled at the initial and fast response to the ads on Kijiji, I went ahead and listed three computer systems. Now, the computer category is quite competitive with plenty of listings, but I did have offers on one that resulted in a scheduled viewing time and a second viewing time with another interested buyer should the first decide not to buy.

I followed the computer ads with several gold and diamond ring ads. Each received over 70 and up to 160 views in the first day with one sale on these ads within 24 hours, and two offers on others which I haven't accepted yet.

Finally, I decided to list a 1932 Ford Street Rod with an asking price of $25,000. Within the first five days of posting I had several e-mails with requests for more information and over 1,000 views. For this particular item, I'm betting that I'll get even more interest as summer approaches and more local buyers start scouting for antique cars before the car show circuit begins.

This ad will remain active on Kijiji until March 2008, at which time I would consider a paid placement for the listing (called a Top Ad), or possibly delete the ad and relist it to bring it back onto the front page of search results, which is ordered by newly posted ads first.

Overall, I would say that based on my experience of posting 20 ads over a four-day period, Kijiji is a super simple classifieds site that is easy for anyone to use — even inexperienced online sellers will be able to maneuver through the process of listing or responding to an ad fairly easily and quickly.

(Continue to Page 2 for details on pricing and tips for selling.)


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