Friday, September 13, 2013

Auctions as a Balanced Approach

I've been doing some talking, and a lot more thinking, about how to incorporate the auction format into my listing strategy when reselling used clothing on eBay. As many of you know, I'm testing the auction format as a means to sell instead of just a means to clear out stale items.

I am running an experiment this month where I list 5 auctions every day. Some of these are new, some are older items from my store. I was originally listing them at MY price, the price at which I would accept the lowest offer in my store. I wasn't noticing a lot of action, and granted, it was a very small sample size so it could just be a fluke. But, through discussions on a Facebook group, I picked up a tip from another seller. She mentioned she starts her auctions at 4X (4 times) what she paid for the item. Her goal is to double her money after fees. Personally, I think this leaves money on the table, but for the sake of experimentation, I had nothing to lose by getting rid of some items quickly. So, I've been doing this.....and seeing a little better results. This stands to reason because the starting price is often $12.95 instead of $19.95. Of course things will sell better when you drop the prices 30%.

My goal is to unload 20% of my items once I move them to auction. This number would produce another sale per day on average, presuming I keep starting 5 auctions every day. I sell about 2-3 items per day in my store right now and this would allow that number to climb to 3-4 per day without accumulating any more inventory. In fact, it would purge inventory because I would be selling more items without buying more. I'm modeling after another seller I've seen use auctions to get from 4 items per day to 8-10. This seller only carries 400 items in their store! That's an inventory load I can handle.

Also, I'm watching a couple of other sellers closely and finding the ones that really shoot the clothing out the door are typically selling on rather thin margins. I'm seeing average profits of $7....even $5. Well, I'm not into selling 225 items per month to only profit $1500 when it's all over. That hourly wage is crap considering all the sourcing and shipping and listing and photographing you need to do to produce those numbers. I'm sorry, but I could work at McDonald's for better cash.

The answer, as always, lies somewhere in between. This is my Holy Grail, if you will. To find that sweet spot. Like centering a 98mph fastball in October, finding the center will have things leaving my store/ebay business like a homerun in October. Here is a quick note (not pretty, complete sentence typing) I drew up really quick noting where I stand in the auction challenge so far. I'm close to that 20%. Remember, though, I'm doing this all month so I can learn. Stay tuned.....and Make Today Count!

5 bids on 36 auctions. that's pretty close to 20%. however, the last two days, i listed at 4x the price i paid instead of my normal price. so, if bidding wars don't happen (which i suspect those are rare on clothing), then i don't know that it's worth much other than to get rid of clothing.
so, the theory stuff at MY price in my store for awhile. and, at whatever predetermined time i decide is time to let things so (i'm thinking 3-6 months) then move them to auction at 4x what i paid.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Diversify yourself!

Thought I'd post a quick thought about diversification in what you sell.  This is a slow month starting out again.  And, most of you know me as a "golf shirt guy."  But, it's not half of what I sell.

I've sold 12 things so far this month (believe me I'm so frustrated I could throw something).  But, here is the break down.

Golf shirts- 4
Denim- 3
Hawaiians- 2
Ties- 1
Coffee mugs- 1
Tshirts- 1

So, what to gather from this?  DIVERSIFY!!  If I only sold golf shirts, I'd have only sold 4 things.  By branching out and selling in more than one niche, I'm not crushed when golf shirts slow down.

As you can see, they are still a BIG part of what I sell.  But, putting all your eggs in one basket is plain suicidal in this ever-changing marketplace.

Get out of your comfort zone and learn more niches!   Make today count!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Resist the Temptation to Push the "Reset Button".....AGAIN....

Many of us do this.  Heck, I still do.  It's a nasty habit and leads to unproductivity.  It's called hitting the reset button on life.

I used to play video games as a kid.  I used to want to get off to the best start possible to set myself up for the best game possible.  So, when one little thing went wrong, I'd just hit the reset button.  I got really good at the beginnings.  I got really good at setting myself up for success.  But, every time I hit a snag or a challenge, I went back to the beginning where I was most comfortable by pushing the reset button.

It wasn't until adulthood that I started to realize that life does NOT have a reset button.  You have to muddle through the tough parts.  You don't get to start over when things don't go as planned.  The only Eminem song I respect is "Lose Yourself."  Think what you want about him as a rapper and musician, but these lyrics really ring true here.....

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo

My point is:  We all get caught up in this "resetting life" from time to time.  And, we get frustrated in why we never seem to arrive at our destination.  We never tap our potential.  We need to learn to quit reaching for the reset button....stop trying to tweak every little thing....and just keep moving forward!

I've been reading a lot of articles lately on eBay's search engine, Google's search engine, and optimizing for mobile.  While it's important to keep up with the times and stay on top of things, we must resist the urge to go back and tear everything down just to start over from scratch.  This is killing you!  Just apply your changes as you move forward.  But, keep moving forward!

You have put a lot into your eBay business, or your Amazon FBA business, or whatever career path you chose.  You have hopefully read from trusted, proven successes that it can be done.  That you can achieve your goals.  Trust the path you are on.  If you are like me, and are constantly tempted to tweak little things and start over again and again, I write this to you so you will see the encouragement to trust your path.  I hope you make the decision today to move forward instead of sideways.

Make today count!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

When it's time to change..'s time to rearrange!

Now that you're in the mood, here is where I'm heading....

I am incorporating auctions in my listings.  For the rest of the month of September I will list 5 auctions per day.  If I receive sales from just 20% of my auctions, I will add 1 item per day to my 2-3 per day average.......WITHOUT ADDING INVENTORY.

This is a space saver of biblical proportions.  I'll keep everyone posted.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Activity theory (Auctions vs Fixed Pricing)

Let's embellish something.  I read a statistic the other day about auctions hitting higher in search rankings than fixed listings.  Assume 1000 listings pull up and 100 were auctions and 900 were fixed.  And, 64 or something of the top 100 were auctions while the other 36 were fixed.  This means auctions carry a higher percentage of the top 100 and were over-represented based on pure numbers.  (I figure some of this gobblegook has to do with both new listing and ending soon bonuses, but whatevs.)

I also saw a video blog of a seller than lists auctions first and moves them to store after they don't sell.  But, she lists HIGH on the first auction shot.  She does this because she saw this over-representation, too.  And, because she swears it drives traffic to her store and keeps her numbers up.

Hmmmmmm.  Of course, this gets me thinking.

Why not list an auction, at YOUR price, and see if you can't flip a few things in a week?  So, I tried it today. I usually just dump things directly in the store with a Best Offer on them to cover my range of acceptance.  For example, a $25 shirt may have an offer on it for $20.  I don't care what it sells for in that range.

The auctions I put out there today were on some bigger ticket items, too.  I started the auction price at what I would typically put as my low offer acceptance.  If I felt it may work, I placed a Buy-It-Now on for what my original asking price would be.

This allows me to offer free shipping on auctions.  It also means since eBay dropped it's tiered auction pricing (where everyone used to fear going over the 9.99 mark) I can ask pretty much whatever I want.  I only need one bid......I don't need a war to start to get MY price.  However, the listing fees were higher.  In some cases, double.  I felt that's ok for the sake of experimentation, but don't know how I feel about it long-term.

The shirts I put out there were Hawaiians.  I put out two Reyn Spooners, a couple cheapies, and two Tommy Bahamas (one NWT).  These "should" get some attention at the least.  I'll be interested to see if a few of them sell.  If so, this will be one seriously quick way to get paid for some great thrift store finds.

Make Today Count!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Results..8/26/13

Quick post here.  I had a nice weekend.  Sold over a dozen items.  Here is the biggest one.

Bought for $8 about 4 months ago.  Cashmere Sportcoat

As for the rest of the numbers, now sold 60 items, gross sales of $1207, net over $600.  I'm sure this is because I'm back on the listing train again.  Sales have really picked up since.

Later, peeps.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Reality Check..

That's right....I'm talking to you.  It's time to get off your ass and list that old stuff you have been overlooking because you don't like it.  Those things that aren't in your "niche."  Those things that aren't exciting to you.  Those things that sit in that corner and just mock you while you play with the toys you love.

Yes, I'm talking to you.  It's time to practice self-discipline and get your space in order.  It's time to rethink your organizational system.  It's time to rethink your shipping and storage process.  It's time to reclaim your house so company can come over once again.

Yes, I'm talking to you.  It's time to get off Facebook and list those things that are piling up.  It's time to take pictures of things even if your kids are screaming in the background.  It's time to get that stuff online before another Christmas passes you by without you giving it your best effort.  It's time to stop shopping for more until you get everything listed online.....SO YOU CAN SELL IT!

Yes, I'm talking to you.  It's time to get your receipts in order for tax time.  It's time to categorize things NOW so you don't have to spend time away from doing what you love later.  It's time to see where your profit margins actually lie instead of misleading yourself into thinking you are headed to Paris in first class seats next month.

Yes, I'm talking to you.  It's simply time to get real.

If you don't you know from experience you will regret it.  You will continue procrastinating and putting it off. You will keep accumulating things until you are on an episode of Hoarders.  Or, you will keep piling up receipts until the IRS knocks on your door for an audit.  This is a business.  It's not 3rd grade recess where we push the cute girl down or kick the kickball over the monkey bars.  It's real life!

Nobody said this would be easy.  If it was easy, and we could do what we wanted to all the time, everyone would be doing it, too.  You chose this life because you didn't want average and ordinary.  You didn't want what all the other "normal" people let themselves get trapped into.  You chose this because you are different!  You are special!  You are an amazing brain of untapped potential that just thinks differently than the rest.  However, the way you reward yourself is to stay on top of things.

Yes, I'm talking to you.  Don't take your foot off the gas because you are a little tired.  This is how it all starts to unravel.  You already know this.  I'm not sharing anything prophetic with you.  I am writing this letter to you to motivate you and inspire you to keep going.  No one ever got their dreams by sitting in a lawn chair with a beer.  And, they didn't stop until it was painfully obvious they were already there.

This can be you........if you only stay disciplined.  So, let's DO IT TODAY!!

(For those of you kind enough to read this, thank you.  Now, even though this may have been intended for me, myself, and I......I beg of you to go to your mirror and read it to yourself.  And, watch yourself take off! It's never too late to get a grip on yourself.  So, don't sit down........go!)

Make Today Count!