Yeah. Trying to run an eBay store while you are packing up to move is not fun. I decided to put the store on vacation until after I move to our new house.
It was also time I cut loose all of my inventory that wasn’t selling. So I had a yard sale and sold/donated everything that had been sitting for a while on the store. I will have a fresh start once I re-open later towards the end of May.
In the next few weeks while I am waiting for the bank to close on our current house (and we get paid!) and when our future house closes (we pay for it) I will be looking at my numbers since January 1st 2017 and working on my bookkeeping workflow. I hope to gain some insight into what works and doesn’t so far and then apply that knowledge going forward in my sourcing and listing strategy.
Here are some things that I have had success with and will continue to do.
Trust my judgement in the weird and wonderful. These are the things that sell best on ebay. Continue to hone this aspect of my sourcing.
Look for things out of place in thrift stores. Either previous shoppers have placed these things intentionally to buy later when they are half price or they are just under valued by the store.
What I’ve found, which people on youtube have confirmed, is that Goodwill in particular and to a lesser degree Salvation Army thrift stores mark up stuff they think is valuable to on line sellers.
The game is to find things that are undervalued by the thrift store but rare and desirable to eBay shoppers.
I’ve also come to understand that the thrift store prices are retail not wholesale. Sometimes you can get 99 cent clothing and half priced items that sell for a healthy profit but more often you are looking at a very slim profit margin at best. I’ve seen many things that I thought were valuable sit in my store and maybe sell for a 99 cent auction.
Vintage clothing and household items do sell but not always for what you would like. Buy as cheaply as possible. I plan on sourcing from auctions and flea markets in addition to estate sales and thrift stores to try and get items cheaper.
The most important strategy for eBay selling success is to list consistently each day. There are many theories why this works. I think that it’s because every time you list an item eBay gives you a “newly listed” boost by having your items appear on like pages that customers are currently browsing.
I’ve also learned that if you get an offer on an item, you may not get another one once the newly listed boost has expired. So, I plan on making sure my best price is on the new items, with “make an offer”. This is in contrast to my previous method of trying to offer the lowest possible price for an item, thinking that the customer would impulse buy.
What I have come to realize is that for the vintage, rare and special items customers will pay the price even if it’s higher because it’s exactly what they were looking for. And if they make an offer you want your original price to be as high as possible so you start at a higher point. For example if you list something for $19.99 a decent counter offer from a buyer is usually at half of the listed price, or 9.99. If you listed this item at $29, or $39 initially you would get a half price offer of 14.99 – 29.99. If the item doesn’t get any offers you could then put it on sale and still have a good starting price. Basically don’t start too low when first listing an item because you soon run out of room for any decent profit.
Finally, I am going to concentrate on selling on eBay and Amazon only for the time being. These get the most “eyeballs” to your products and produce the most sales.
I will also try sourcing from the apps like letgo/offer up and craigslist as you can get deals. There are also deals on ebay. My goal is to find items more easily than driving around to thrift stores, garage and estate sales.