Photo of a street fair

Wanted: Anything You Don’t Want Anymore

10 Sep 2015 by Susie Steckner

Technology is constantly evolving — not unlike a living organism. It isn’t static. It isn’t constant. Which makes it disruptive. Businesses, even niche businesses, often forget to, or choose not to, evolve with technology and are turned upside down — because their products, their policies, their customer interface becomes, simply put, outdated. We live in a consumer-driven world, and we are often drawn to technology everything — from convenience to novelty. This is Insight’s Disruptive Technology series. We will be addressing how technology enters an industry and does exactly that — disrupts.

It’s never been easier to swap, share, sell and even score free stuff thanks to online startups that connect people and their goods. 

A proliferation of websites and apps means you can share just about anything — from clothing and car leases to smart phones and sports gear. Good old-fashioned borrowing is easier, too, with an app that connects lenders with borrowers in the same community.

“Together, entire communities and cities around the world are using network technologies to do more with less by renting, lending, swapping, bartering, gifting and sharing products on a scale never before possible,” says the site Collaborative Consumption.

The site touts sharing leaders like Airbnb for the booming growth of this segment in the economy. Vacation planning aside, here’s a look at some of the sites and apps that are helping people share in their everyday lives.

Out with the old. The business of selling and buying devices online has exploded, with startups competing for your trade-ins on sites like Gazelle, NextWorth, BuyBackWorld and glyde. Just about any device — smartphones, iPads, iPods, tablets, e-readers, handheld video game systems — is fair game. Find your device on the site, get an instant online quote, mail it off for free and receive payment quickly. Looking for a device is just as easy. Sure you might get a higher price on Craigslist, selling directly, but these e-commerce sites may be a better option to decrease risk and speed up your sale.

Fashion swap. A handbag for a halter top. A pair of shoes for a sweater. A necklace for whatever you find. Swap Style makes it easy for women to swap, and buy and sell clothes, purses, cosmetics and accessories with other women around the world. Everything from high-end designer fashions, to handmade and vintage, is up for grabs. At HipSwap, users can search for an item, say black boots or a designer handbag, and find out what’s for sale at marketplaces like eBay. Swap-only site Dig N Swap connects swappers with new-to-you clothing and accessories. Clothing Swap takes trading to a new level by hosting clothing swaps around the country. Purchase a ticket to a swap event, clean out your closet and take home new faves.

Game changer. You can snag a deal on athletic gear online through sites that feature shoes, clothing, equipment, bags and more. Find high-dollar brands and no-name items to fit any need. Swap P2P on SidelineSwap, or buy and sell on Swap.com. Want to donate new or used gear? Check out SwapMeSports.

Leases made easy. Want to dump a car lease? Or find a good deal on a lease? Sites like Swapalease and LeaseTrader connect people who want to get rid of a car lease with those who want to take over a lease. Users can quickly transfer their leases and end unwanted payments. Users looking for a car lease get plenty of benefits using these sites, too — locking in the original rate, a shorter-term lease and more.

Keep it local. Lending app Peerby allows you borrow from people in your community. In 30 minutes, you’ll have your hands on that drill, tent, bike — anything people are willing to lend — and that you need to borrow. If you are looking to buy, think local with Krrb. The online classifieds site allows locals to sell vintage goods, handmade items and more to other locals. Just plug in your location and see what’s for sale nearby. You can also find information about local flea markets, estate sales and garage sales.

Sharing apps. Trade, barter, share and get stuff for free, on the go, with apps like Listia, Yerdle and InstaTrade. Trade and find just about anything — a frying pan, designer shoes, lunch box, headphones. Anything. As one Listia reviewer writes, “One man’s garbage is another man’s gold.” Can’t part with tried-and-true Craigslist? Try out the company’s cPro app to find and manage your own items.