Review of Carousell in 2020

(This is not a sponsored post.)

By now, I’m sure you have heard of the online buy/sell/trade platform called Carousell. Heck, some of you might already be calling it Carouhell, lol.

This post is intended for those who are:

– new to Carousell

– already on Carousell but seldom use it for some reason (fear of scam, unsure of how to use it, having doubts about the app etc)

Even if you are already using Carousell, I’m sure you can find something useful here. I’d like to hear about your experience and comments on Carousell too, do share it in the comments section at the bottom of the post.

Carousell has the potential to earn you some money, so do read on to know more about the app!

Intro/History

Carousell is an application that offers a platform to buy and sell things. What things? All sorts of things, almost anything in fact. From items to services, brand new or second hand items(or third or fourth hand, we wouldn’t know would we?), Carousell has it all. Think of it as a flea market (but in an app), where you can just open a table and put your items up for sale, and also buy stuff from other sellers.

The simplicity of the app is that you can easily upload pictures and description of the item you want to sell, post it and wa-la, it’s up for all to see (for all those that are on the app anyways).

You can also search for items that you want to buy easily.

 

Carousell is an app that I’ve used since Dec 2013. It was first launched in August 2012, so when I joined, I’d consider the app as still quite new. Everything was quite basic and easy to use back then; I felt that it was really focused on users to buy and sell their new or used stuff. For me, selling on the Carousell was definitely a win over selling at forums or local EBay back then.

Read: How 3 friends turned their unwanted items into a $550 million business

Flash forward 2020, and the app has changed tremendously. The developers have added plenty of new features, like bumps, coins, analytics and even a business account, and the format of transactional feedback has changed. The ease of use is still there, but now, like all over the internet, YouTube, and other social media, advertisements appear everywhere. They appear in between search listings and even your own inbox messages. I personally find it quite annoying, but I guess the ease of use of the app is still there, so I just ignore the ads.

Platform

Though Carousell initially started as a mobile app, they do have a website/desktop version too.

I definitely prefer the mobile app as it’s neater, easier and more convenient to use (in fact I’ve never used the website version lol). You can just snap pics of the item on your phone and straight away upload it to create a listing, as opposed to having to transfer to a laptop/desktop if you were to use the website, and you can do all that anywhere; during MRT/bus rides, on the comfort of your bed, during lunch breaks at work, literally anywhere (with data connection of course lol).

I wouldn’t even consider using the website version. However, I’ve seen people who post listings that have a very long description; that’s probably an instance to use the website version so you can type it out on the laptop/desktop instead of struggling on the handphone keypad.

Carousell WebsiteCarousell Website

User experience

As Buyer

As a buyer, all you have to do is type in the item you are looking for into the search bar right at the top of the app, and that’s it. It’s as simple as other online shopping platforms in terms of search.

Once you find an item that you like, you can either chat or make an offer. Before that, do read the description of the item (as an occasional seller, I always get annoyed when potential buyers ask about something that is already stated in my description).

I always start communication by chatting, and negotiate where possible before offering. There’s really no right or wrong here, but I usually don’t negotiate if I already know that the price is already unbeatable compared to other sellers. You can try your luck to nego on an already low price; you’d end up with an even better deal, or the seller might just end up ignoring you.

Once a price is agreed, you can then make offer. Most sellers would want you to make offer (for accountability and feedback purposes), but there are some sellers who are bo chup and won’t ask you to.

You pay by cash, bank transfer, paynow/paylah, or Caroupay, depending on the choice of transaction of the seller. Caroupay is a payment service offered by Carousell to protect both the seller and buyer. However, I actually prefer not to use it as the amount received through Caroupay would end in the in-app Carousell wallet, which you’ll then need to transfer out to your bank account. I’d rather have it straight to my account, heh.

Tips when buying:

#1 When searching for an item, use ‘Recent’ option to see the latest listings. Compare the prices, and if you scroll down to an older listing which has a decent price similar to recent prices, you’d likely to have a better chance at negotiating a lower price (as the seller has held on to the item for a while and might be eager to sell it, unless in the description, it was already stated as ‘no nego’).

#2 Type one or two words, and also the full name of the item when searching for that a specific item. For example, if you are searching for a Bluetooth speaker, you can search for ‘speaker’, ‘Bluetooth speaker’, ‘brand x Bluetooth speaker’, ‘brand x speaker’, ‘brand x Bluetooth speaker model no123’. Basically do a few searches as the previous example I shared, and not just one. Some sellers may hastily post and don’t include the model type or brand of the item, and that might just be the cheapest one available that is listed. So yeah, doing this increases your chance of coming across a good deal. (I’ve bought a branded digital thermometer which costs around $100 at pharmacies, for $16 brand new. So yeah, search using different words! You’ll never know if you’d get lucky.)

#3 As mentioned earlier, I usually don’t offer first. Chat first with the seller, ask questions, and nego if you want to. When you have made a final decision to buy then you make the offer. Sometimes buyers offer immediately without thinking through, and once the seller accepts, it’s gonna be difficult for them to back out without getting a negative feedback.

#4 Always look at seller’s profile and feedback. They should be on your red alert notice if they have some poor feedback. Deal at your own risk then. Or look for other sellers.

As Seller

As a seller, it is really convenient to post a listing. Back in 2013, only 4 pictures can be uploaded, but it has been increased to 10 now. So yeah, take up to ten pictures of the items that you want to sell from different angles and close up description on the box (if any) and you can make a selling listing on the go!

Tips when selling:

#1 Make sure whatever necessary information is included in the description to prevent people from asking so many questions. If they still ask and the answer is there, just ask them to go back to the listing and read it.

#2 Include your place of meet up (either a specific MRT station, a specific place or just ‘Tampines’ will do), mode of payment accepted and if postage/courier can be done.

#3 Put a slightly higher price than the price that you want to sell. So that if people nego, it’ll drop to your expected price or just slightly below it. Buuuuut, if you need to get rid of it fast? Put a cheap price lol.

#4 Search for other similar listings if you are unsure of what price to put for your item.

#5 For me, I won’t accept the offer till everything is done (item received by buyer, and buyer is satisfied). I do this to minimize getting a negative feedback, just in case the buyer makes a scene. However, if the buyer request that I accept their offer, I will check their feedback first before doing so. If they have a lot of positive feedback, it’s good to go.

My Personal Experience

I’ve been on Carousell for 6 years and counting.

I use Carousell a lot to get what I need. Whenever I need to find something, for example a new/second hand DSLR, earphones, basically anything, and I have time in hand (if it’s too last minute I might just buy off retail lol), I’d always search the item at Carousell as I know I can get better deals there.

As a side income

I also sell plenty of stuff on Carousell. It has been an ad-hoc sort of side income so to speak. Whatever things that is unused or still can be used, I’d put it up at Carousell. From my extra action figures, to impulse buys, to unused and used items (but in good and usable condition), I’ve sold them all. All the extra dollar that I get helps, especially when it’s the week before payday lol.

I have slightly over 1k positive feedback (1035 to be exact) as of the date of this post (and there should have been a bit more because for some deals, the other party didn’t exchange feedback). About two third of them are feedback as a seller, and one third are as a buyer, so yeah, I sell more than I buy on the platform since 2013.

In my opinion, Carousell can generate you some income, but it can never be enough to be your only income stream. I’m sure for online sellers, they would sell across multiple platforms and Carousell would be one of them.

So yeah, for me, Carousell helps me get a small amount of money from things that I don’t need anymore or have stopped using. It’s a good (if not the best) platform to sell stuff without the need of become a registered business of any sort. Can it help you earn a 4 digit income? Probably not, but it is indeed a very useful platform to monetize your unwanted stuff. If you have some products to sell or home-based business ventures, Carousell would be a useful platform too.

My buy/sell experience

Having been on Carousell for about 6 years, I have my fair share of positive and negative experience on this platform. I’ve come across some great deals and found things that I have been looking for that are not available in retail shops. I’ve sold stuff that earned me some money. I’ve even mailed out to Malaysia once for a Malaysian who searched for stuff on Carousell Singapore.

On the flip side, just like in any business, you’re bound to come across buyers or sellers that give you a bad experience. From being impatient, rude, to slow replies and to last minute back outs, you’re gonna face them all if you keep using Carousell. I experience them too occasionally, but I’ve learnt to just move on from such experiences.

My item was listed at $360. That’s not how you nego lol.

A point I’d like to share is that, you’ll face bad experience everywhere, even in physical shops and not just online. These bad experiences that I have are mostly due to the people using the platform, nor the platform itself.

Scams?

Just like when you plan to buy computer parts at Sim Lim Square, you gotta be street smart and avoid scams or scammy-looking listings. This goes for any online shopping platform, not just Carousell.

Maybe you’ve heard of people being scammed on Carousell. The problem is that scams can happen anywhere, so you just have to be vigilant.

A deal is too good to be true? It probably is.

Read: What to Do if a Carousell Seller Goes MIA after Getting Paid

In fact, on my very first deal, I was scammed. I was selling a digicam for a $100. The buyer paid me $50 upon getting the digicam, and said would transfer the other $50 within a few days. Me, being the trusting person that I am (and the person was friendly), agreed. And guess what. No replies after a few days. However, that didn’t deter me from using the platform. It was definitely a lesson learnt, and I’m just more careful from then on.

Some pointers to help prevent yourself from falling prey to a scam on Carousell:

#1 Look at the Carouseller’s feedback. If they have low or no positive feedback, or has a mixture of positive and negative feedback, better not to engage in any deal with them.

#2 Especially for pre-orders, if you don’t feel confident that the seller is legit, then don’t pre-order from them. Look at their profile and their listings, check their feedback. Even if you decide to go ahead, the deposit should not be high.

#3 Compare the item with other sellers. Look at the price range of the item and check the feedback for each seller before deciding on a seller. I would think twice to trust a seller who has very low amount of positive feedback

#4 Ask for photo or video proof before seller mails out the item.

TL;DR

+ Simple interface on the app, easy to use

+ Easy to upload pictures and create a listing to sell

+ Convenient (as a seller); can create a listing on the go, anytime, anywhere (as long as you took pics of the items earlier)

+ Easy to search for items to buy

+ Has a website version

+ Don’t need to be a registered company or fill up any sort of application to start selling

+ As of the date of this post, Carousell is based in Singapore but the app can also be used in Malaysia, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, Philippines and Taiwan.

– Need to be wary of scam (in my opinion, the numbers are not that high, but there are such cases, so you can never be too careful)

– Advertisements are posted between search listings and between messages in your inbox

– Be mentally prepared to ignore low ballers

– Be mentally prepared for occasional unpleasant deals (rude, last minute back out, last minute changes etc)

Would I recommend using Carousell?

No online platform is perfect, and even when it is good, the people using it may not be.

I would definitely recommend selling your stuff on Carousell. It really is an online flea market, and best of all, it’s free. You can also pay to get the listing in the ‘spotlight’ (I’ll share about this soon!) for more exposure if you want to.

Like I mentioned earlier, there is a high chance you will face some unpleasant people, just as I did. However, I take it as being no different then running an actual shop; you are bound to come across this sort of people from time to time. The difference on Carousell is that you can’t see them, so if the deal is not working out (whether it’s buying or selling), just say that you are not keen to proceed and then just ignore them.

Scams may sound scary, but besides my very first deal which I mentioned earlier, I’ve never been scammed of my money. Bottom line is, you gotta be street smart and cautious when buying and selling on Carousell, and for the matter of fact, when shopping anywhere else too, be it online or not.

Would you be able to make a lot of money? A 4-digit income? I highly doubt so. I have, however, earn a little here and there when I sell my unused or unwanted stuff, so that does bring in some ‘pocket money’. Every dollar helps, man. Lol. If you have some side hustle, posting your items or services on Carousell would definitely help.

My review and experience is based on my usage of the app in Singapore. Share your experience or opinion on Carousell in the comments below, especially if you use it in another country!