If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of waking up at dawn to go flea market shopping, but still can’t resist the call for thrifting & haggling, shopping online offers a pretty smart alternative to going out in the real world.
Sure, you won’t get the same exciting feeling you experience when rummaging through old boxes at the flea market. But many apps out there have the advantage of offering nice curated collections à la Pinterest of beautiful vintage and second-hand merchandise. While flea markets are mostly about finding random things on a budget you did not know you needed, flea market apps are generally about getting inspired and finding exactly what you’re looking for in your neighborhood.
Alternatively, these same apps can turn any person into a flea market merchant for a day, for a fraction of the price and efforts needed “in real life”. Forget the hassle of loading and unloading your car with flea market stuff, driving at dawn in the cold, and standing long hours at the flea market: these apps let you do exactly the same thing, from the comfort of your couch.
The process is pretty straightforward: Just take a picture of the item you sell, upload it with a description, put a price tag, and you’re good to go! And since most apps use “proximity shopping technology”, you don’t even have to worry about shipping as your customers might live within a few miles radius.
We reviewed five apps we consider to be the best available on the European market to buy and sell second-hand products and vintage items. So if you enjoy window-shopping from the comfort of your couch, searching for vintage accessories as a gift for your best friend, or finding new (innovative) ways to de-clutter your flat, then these apps are just made for you.
Shpock: The Shop in Your Pocket App
Shpock, short for Shop in Your Pocket, is a very popular app for online trade in Europe, with over 3.000.000 installs. Self-styled as ‘the boot sale app for beautiful things’, Shpock has a very friendly interface, with a two-column layout and large photos. You will find the most beautiful things in your neighborhood, easily locate them on the online map, and then meet the seller.
If you decide to purchase an item, you just have to set a time and place where to meet the seller, in order to pick up the item and make the payment in cash – no payment is made via the app. It’s also just as simple to sell your own objects: take a photo of the product you’re selling, choose a category, and set a price!
What’s really good about this app is that it lets you sort the things you’re interested in either by location (if you want to shop locally) or by category, where it offers a generous amount of nine categories.
You can look up products or insert your own in Fashion and Accessories; Home and Garden; Electronics; Movies, Books and Music; Baby and Child; Sport, Leisure and Games; Services; Cars and Motor; and ‘Other’, making the search and filtering very simple and specific. The app also has a fun Tumblr blog where you can read about topics such as vintage ceramics, young designers, or home décor trends.
Shpock is available for download both for iOS and Android. It doesn’t charge any listing or transaction fees and if you do want some extra promotion for your item you’d pay something between 70 cents to 15 €.
Wallapop is a friendly, free app for trading in second-hand items in your neighborhood. If you’re selling an item, take a couple of photos, add a short description and let the image make its job, decide on a price and be ready to negotiate and you’re good to go into the virtual flea market world!
Wallapop doesn’t charge any listings or transaction fees so you can fully enjoy the money made off your beautiful second-hand items. It’s highly appreciated for its intuitive function: the further down you scroll through the products list it means that the further that item is from your current location. So if you want to buy ‘hyper-locally’ as some have named the Wallapop trade style, check the items which are top in your list.
Letgo is another cool app for trading in second-hand items. What’s really great about it is that you can be sure that your transaction is safe, as you need to have a verified account before buying or selling. Just like other apps, it’s easy to post your item by taking a few photos, writing a short description, and setting a price and a category.
You can go back and check how many times your item has been viewed and adjust the price if you’re getting a lot of exposure but not offers. It’s free and fast to use, with most listings being featured in 30 seconds after submission. With its varied categories, it offers a lot of breadth for searching and for making sure your item is noticed quickly.
Check the sections cars and motors, electronics, fashion and accessories, babies and children, sports, movies, books and music, home and garden and you’ll be sure to find the item you need or find the right place where to place the one you’re selling.
Letgo emphasizes that they don’t share your information with anyone so you can be sure it’s safe to use and respectful of private data submitted.
Depop is ‘the new fun way to shop’, a stylish app geared towards vintage and art objects, with categories such as vintage and luxury fashion, art, illustration, books, records. If you are a seller you can easily set up an online shop in Depop and then promote it on social media to attract more buyers. Depop has a very cool blog to follow for news from the art and design scene, interviews with artists promoted via the app.
Depop also showcases upcoming and established artists selling their works via the app, creating a buzzing community of people with a strong interest in visual arts and beautiful objects. The app has received a lot of appreciation in the media, being described as ‘Part Instagram-style social network and part eBay marketplace’ (TechCrunch) and ‘the effortlessly cool’ (Evening Standard).
It creates a community around interesting items as you can ‘like’ an object even you don’t intend to buy it and showing appreciation for that one item can land someone on your page, in your online shop. You can also ‘follow’ celebrities and see what they are buying and selling.
The way Depop combines the attractive features of different social media channels is really the success recipe of this app and the reasons why it resonates so well with people who want to do more than just buy and sell good second-hand objects. Depop has a safe way to trade, as it’s covered by PayPal’s Buyer Protection. It’s free to list any item, but if you sell an item, Depop will charge you a 10% fee on the total transaction amount including shipping costs.
Depop has two types of payments a Classic one and a Wallet one: the first one has the usual 10% Depop commission and an extra 3.4% + £0.20 PayPal transaction fee, whereas the Wallet transaction has no PayPal fee but it’s currently available only to selected UK sellers and soon to be available to the entire app community.
Installs: 500,000 – 1,000,000 Size: 47.4 MB Languages: English, Italian Compatibility: iOS and Android
Stuffle: The ‘Curated Markets’ App
Stuffle is when your stuff is shuffled or something fun of this kind. If you want to buy and sell second-hand items online, but you also want to see innovative ‘curated markets’ for specific items, you must try this app.
Stuffle is unique among similar apps because it has two special categories, classic cars, and equitation items, so for those with a passion for either of these two, Stuffle is the place to be. It is also the most lightweight app of all 5 iterations we have reviewed: requiring only 13.6 MB of available space to be installed, Stuffle won’t eat up your phone’s memory.
If you’re selling an item, you only need to take a few photos, write a short and snappy description and post it. If you’re a buyer you can choose to pay when you pick up your purchases or via PayPal which makes it safe and worry-free. The recently updated version of Stuffle allows you to find apartments from Salz&Brot and ImmobilienScout24, making other aspects like house search a bit more fun.
You can download Stuffle both on the iOS and Android systems and then you’re ready to thrift!
Installs: 100,000 – 500,000 Size: 13.6 MB Languages: English, German Compatibility: iOS and Android
How about you? Have you already used one of the apps listed in this review? How was your experience, and how does it compare to eBay or similar service? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comment section!