If you’ve ever bought things or sold them on Carousell, you might be familiar with this online marketplace. Often, there appears to be deals to be had there.

But do you know what makes this e-commerce platform tick? Who are the people transacting mostly? Why are they even there?

In this post, I’ll share my tongue-in-cheek review of Carousell, first with a poem. I’m quite sure you aren’t at all surprised and have come to expect an unusual approach from me.

Yea, it can be hard to live up to expectations of high standard set the WittyCulus way. But still I try…

In relation to my poetic discourse and the theme of this article, I’ll take you on a tour of the SD (or Secure Digital) memory card market down at Carousell. I’d compiled my own WittyCulus SD/TF card price guide, which tells you about what is available and how much to budget for it.

Very likely to help you save money, I’m sure 🙂 And avoid a big headache!

Let’s go have a look!

Buying & Selling on Carousell – Get This One Thing Right!

It seems I haven’t run out of ideas to wax lyrical about. Coming right up… my personal take on dealing at Carousell, having bought and sold there.

In just 8 lines and some 74 words, I reflect on what I’d seen — and I reckon a common sight — when you try to buy or sell. There is a mistake I admitted to making — in my opinion, this is a key lesson for anyone who is a Carouseller.

I’ve called my creation the “Carol(of)selling”, an anthem for this popular venue of deals.

Carol(of)selling – A Marketplace Anthem?
Written on 23 October 2017

Serious seller list it; so do the dreamers
Sincere buyer they seek, dread those tyre kickers
When both sides eye a price match, fast deal oft is struck
Seller cashes out quick; buyer amazed at their luck

Meanwhile days turn into weeks, soon into months
Dreamers cling on to hope — it just never comes
Prices get marked down, but who’d see listings of old?
A dreamer I once was — heed the lesson being told!

What do you think of this poem? Did it hit a nerve or strike a chord with you? Feel free to share your views in the comment box.

Here’s The Key Lesson…

It’s basically do or die. A simple lesson, really.

More specifically, sell when a buyer comes with a reasonable offer or wait for that magical price and risk being stuck with the item… forever!

Take my case. I had priced an unopened baby product below retail, easily 20% down. Had also surveyed the online space and positioned my deal as the best. There was one problem though: almost no one had stock to sell.

So I went away with the impression the situation favoured me. Along came a buyer who offered $5 less. Somehow I didn’t bite.

And so the item stayed on the shelf for another 2-3 good weeks. It did get sold eventually, at a lower price 🙁

I saved myself from holding on to something I didn’t need but could be traded for money. Question is, how many sellers are able — and willing — to cash out at the appropriate time?

Perhaps they would have to learn the same lesson. Or maybe never, as we shall later see.

What Makes Carousell Tick?

Carousell started off as a glamed-up classified ads marketplace. Imagine gumtree with loads of photos (of items on sale) to browse and you’ll get the idea.

One thing’s for sure, it did hit the ground running, due to its ease of use.

With a nice looking app limited to iPhone users initially, the developers made it simple for sellers to list their goods. In mere minutes, a listing can be up on their marketplace, ready to attract buyers.

And it’s all for free! Sellers pay no listing or transaction fees. Buyers pay only the agreed price (to the seller).

Kinda like eBay on steroids, minus the overheads. There’s bidding too, in the form of pre-sale bargaining.

Unfortunately, Carrousell can’t shake off the unsophisticated image they began with. I’m not sure if they’re actively trying to become an e-com player to be reckoned with.

For now, they look stuck to me.

Bargains Galore? Or More Like Bargain Hunters Playground?

And staying stuck too are the types of people who frequent and/or engage in buying and selling on Carousell.

As the “premier” bargain hunters ground, Carousell is replete with many seeking a good deal. Most times, that would be buying second-hand items, or what some prefer to call pre-loved. See, that’s a prime reason why Carousell’s image is what it is.

At the extreme end of buyers, there are what people term as “low ballers”. These are basically those who’d browse and then put in ridiculously low bids to sellers. Usually there’s no intent on sealing a deal. People in the US call them “tire (their spelling!) kickers”, very descriptive indeed of what takes place.

Of course there are buyers who’d agree to what the sellers asked for. Most times, some price haggling would ensue. And on the way to closing a sale, some Q&A — via Carousell’s built-in chat — would normally take place.

It’s always good to find out more about what you’re buying; that includes asking for more pictures of the item under consideration. If you’re shy about this, you might end up owning something less desired. (Remember, the seller’s view of an item can be different — their focus is on securing a buyer!)

So much about buyers. What about sellers?

Two types of sellers mainly make their presence felt. The first group are the casual dealers who have used products to clear; and at times, premiums — what we fondly call free gifts! — to unload for cash. Not much different from any marketplace dominated by consumers.

Another group would be business-oriented people offering their goods for sale. They have set up “shop” at Carousell; possibly on other online platforms as well. Some actually have physical shop space even.

Benchmark the Market… and Be Ready to Sell!

This second group is important to other Carousellers, especially sellers of similar items. The prices they command set a sort of market benchmark for others to price their items (usually lower). Buyers benefit too by getting a real idea of what online shops are selling at.

As my poem alluded to, there are also people dreaming of selling. These are sellers who price their items way high, sometimes higher than market. There’s just no way their goods will move — at best it would be a waiting game.

Waiting for perhaps an uninformed buyer to bite.

More likely the case, waiting for time to pass with no sale. And then (the dreaded?) price revision downwards; but still with the same unrealistic expectation. To such a seller, it’s a discount; honestly, the new price doesn’t even reflect the current market.

And so the listing becomes stale. The item, unsold!

You can see more than a handful of such dated listings on Carousell. Those who had listed them must have given up hope and long forgotten about what they tried to sell a year or more earlier.

This becomes another sore point to plague Carousell. This dealing platform could do well to clean up old listings and make sellers more responsible for such upkeep. That’ll make for a healthier looking marketplace, don’t you agree?

Economics Calls It Price Discovery… What Big Words, These!

So, what must happen for a sale to occur?

Of course, both buyer and seller must agree on a fair price. But what is to be considered fair? Does one side actually benefit more than the other?

If you’d studied economics — and I hadn’t, btw — the books would have shown you the idea of price discovery. In the so-called efficient market, prices would soon settle with ongoing buying and selling.

But who wants to go first in setting either the bid or ask price? Isn’t there the notion that one side will lose initially, until price equilibrium is reached?

Fortunately, on Carousell at least, we don’t need to be the hero and make that first move. Recall that we have biz people amidst sellers — they would set the market price. Hopefully a reasonable one.

The rest of us can then price below the market and conduct our own small trading. That is if you’re not a dreamer or tyre (yes, British spelling for a change!) kicker.

Quite often, a seller would be ready to sell lower than advertised, if conditions are right. And a savvy buyer could buy cheaper by satisfying those conditions. For those in the know, this is called a fast deal.

What Makes a Fast Deal and Why They Are Needed

The conditions of a fast deal are few and simple:

* Buyer meeting at seller’s convenience; or agreeing to item being mailed
* Buyer paying upfront to reserve the item
* Transaction completed within a few hours

Basically a fuss-free deal which results in a quick cashout for the seller and an amazing bargain for the buyer.

Fast deals can help build a vibrant and efficient marketplace for a platform like Carousell’s. But for that to be commonplace, both buyers and sellers need to be educated to conduct business that’s mutually beneficial.

Here, the dreamers do need a wake-up call! I sincerely hope they are reading this. For I was once a dreamer too; and nearly risked holding on to an unneeded item. I did part with it for $10 less than an earlier offer (which I had turned down)!

Yes, retail prices can provide you with a rough guide. And online prices can nudge the Carouseller closer to reality. But wishing that you could sell at or even higher than market on a (mostly) consumer-to-consumer trading platform like Carousell is just that — plain dreaming!

(Of course there is the occasional shortage situation, but such is few and far between. Keep dreaming, if you must, lol.)

Would you rather have many fast deals — and collect/count your money — or hang on to goods that are perceivably worth more on paper?

Just remember this: “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.” Most definitely.


This post got too long! Looks like I’ll roll over my SD card price guide to the next. Look out for it 🙂

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