The definitive guide to Depop – buy or sell


If you enjoy reading my blog, would you consider paying $1 a month to become a patron? You’ll be supporting the work I do (podcasting, writing, the occasional YouTube upload) by paying for that content – and it will allow me more time and financial freedom to concentrate on writing, podcasting, YouTubing and God knows what else! Read more about how you can become a patron (and why you would want to) here. I get asked a couple of times a week for a guide to Depop, and while using Depop is incredibly easy, like anything, it can seem a little daunting to the uninitiated. I'm not an expert seller – I've sold 40-odd items using the app – and I'm not a seasoned buyer, either, having bought only three things (a pair of jeans that didn't fit me, a YAS dress* I adore from Sarah of I Come Undone, and Holly White's pre-loved & Other Stories* shoes).

That being said, I've spent enough time listing and browsing Depop to be fairly confident about the ins and outs of it, so I've compiled a handy starting-out guide for anyone thinking of dipping a capitalist toe in the waters of selling with the shopping app.

Before you start on Depop

Yep, you need to download the app

Depop is essentially a smartphone app that functions like a hybrid of Instagram and eBay*. It sits on your smartphone, and when you open it up, you scroll through the latest uploads from users you follow. So far, so Insta, right? For the Luddites among us (myself included), it would seem a little, y'know, more straightforward to have a desktop version of Depop, but this is the age of the application, and shopping from one's phone is a very real and popular thing. Once you get to grips with things, it makes it pretty handy. It's available on iOS, Android and so on, and the app itself is free.

Depop functions a lot like a social network – numbers matter

Unlike, say, eBay, Depop relies on its users to build up a network of followers: those are the people who will shop your stash. So, for example, Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad (@chiaraferragni) – arguably, the world's biggest blogger – has amassed a following of 1.7 million. Closer to home, Suzanne Jackson (@sosueme_ie) has 22,000; Leanne Woodfull (@leannewoodfull) has 68,000. For the average user who doesn't have a big social media following to push towards their Depop account (when Sue uploads new sales, she flags them on Snapchat to her thousands of followers and they sell out in minutes) it can be really, really tricky to find buyers for your bits.

buying selling a guide to Depop Rosemary Mac Cabe

Selling on Depop

So... how do I get started?

Let's start with the basics: when opening a Depop account, you pick a username – if you have a social media presence, your best bet is to pick the same username. That way, people will find you easily when they search.

Take decent pictures

This is the most time-consuming portion of any online sale, if you ask me: figuring out where and how to photograph your items. It helps to have a blank space, if what you're selling is particularly bright or patterned, but Depop, like Instagram, is a visual app – so don't be afraid to experiment and think of it as you would an Instagram flat lay. Put some thought into it; the more eye-catching the photograph, the more likely people are to stop and look at what you're selling. (Officially, Depop prohibits the posting of photographs that don't belong to you – so you're not supposed to upload the official Zara or Asos pics of your bits, but I do it all the time and haven't been scolded yet.)

Include the essentials in your description

The description box is where you should put all helpful information pertaining to the item you're selling – but don't forget, this is what will help people, who are searching on Depop, to find what you're selling. So, for example, don't forget to put in the designer label or brand; a detailed description of the item ("high waisted blue denim mom jeans" is going to perform better in a Depop search than "jeans"); the size or measurements, if possible (with items like handbags, I'll sometimes place my hand or phone into shot, for scale) – and, for the love of Karl, spell things correctly. If someone's searching for Marc Jacobs items and your barely worn handbag is listed as "Mark Jacobs", you're on to a loser.

A word of warning: Depop does police the use of "related" brands. So, for example, if you're selling a Topshop bag, you're not permitted to describe it as "Marc Jacobs inspired" – essentially because then the bag will show up in Marc Jacobs searches when, in fact, it's from Topshop. From a buyer's point of view, that's a pretty good move by Depop.

Make your terms clear

Decide, from the outset, whether you'll offer refunds or exchanges. Are you open to swaps? How long do you take to post items? It's handy to have all of these details in your own bio, so that there can be no confusion.

Then... Stick to them!

If you say you'll post items within five working days, make sure you stick to your word. Depop operates on a review basis, so good reviews mean that you'll be seen as a more reliable and worthwhile seller. If you consistently fail to post on time, and don't get back to email requests or queries, you'll get bad reviews from your buyers and this will impact the likelihood of other people buying from you. Of course, things can get in the way; maybe you've had a hectic week at work and didn't get to the post office. Just make sure you've let your buyers know that their items are en route. I frequently end up delayed with my Depop postage (slap on the wrist!), but I always let my fellow Depoppers know, and I usually add in a little gift with their order by way of apology.

buying selling a guide to Depop Rosemary Mac Cabe

Buying on Depop

Search for what you want

Don't forget; though Depop may look like Instagram, it's also another version of eBay, and the search function is there for a reason. Your first search will show you only sellers in your own region; click "rest of world" to see outside of Ireland. A quick search for Kenzo, for example – I've always wanted one of their tiger sweaters! – reveals a whole host of jumpers, from £10 for a very bobble version to £50 for a rarely worn one.

Always read the description – and ask questions!

If you're not sure about the fit, sizing or spec of something you're interested in purchasing, don't be afraid to reach out to the Depop user in question to ask them. I always feel as if Depop users who don't respond are not very good communicators – and that if I hand them over my cash, I might be waiting a while to hear back from them, so it's in their interest to respond! If you're a small size 12 and this is a 10, ask them if they think it might be roomy; if they say a pair of sunglasses is scratched, ask to see more pics so that you can be sure that you really want them, despite the damage.

Pay through Depop

Sometimes, buyers or sellers will ask to pay via PayPal; this way, there are no fees payable to Depop because, essentially, the transaction is done outside of the app. But it also means you have no comeback if your item doesn't arrive or, on the flip side, if your buyer doesn't cough up the cash by the time you post the item. It's safer to stick to Depop's own way of doing things and protect yourself.

Leave feedback

This applies to sellers, too, but Depop works not only as a social network but as a community. So, if you buy something and you're really happy with the service you got – or, of course, really unhappy – it's of benefit to you and to any future buyers to let them know that you're unhappy with the transaction. If there's something you're really raging about, I'd try to contact the seller first, perhaps to say that you feel you were misled and to ask for a refund. After that? Bad review all the way!

And... My fave Depop users

@kiwihughes Fashion stylist and buyer Ciara Depops brand new or barely worn items from brands like One Teaspoon*, Finders Keepers, Zara and River Island*. She sold me the One Teaspoon jeans that were my first Depop purchase, so it's only fair that she comes first. (I gave her five stars.)

@leandramedine The woman behind the Man Repeller is teeny tiny, so there's no way I'll ever fit into her duds, but I like living vicariously through her cast-offs. Is that weird?!

@wishwishwish UK blogger Carrie Harwood is a great example of how to do Depop right. Her pics are gorgeous, all really bright and clear, and I like her because we're the same size, give or take a few shape differences. She's not active on Depop right now but I have high hopes for her return.

@icomeundone Blogger Sarah Hanrahan uploads new bits to her Depop every Monday, which is handy cos you know when to log on and check in! A lot of her pics will be of her wearing the clothes, which is also mega helpful; sometimes a blank wall just won't give the full effect!

So there you have it – my guide to Depop. Are you on the app? How do you find it? Love or loathe, I'd love to know what your top tips are!

*This is an affiliate link. I would love if you would click through, should you feel like buying any of my recommendations! I’ll get a tiny percentage and you’ll be supporting me in a very minor way. Read more about affiliate links here.