Scavenger Life Episode 277: Doing eBay Full Time After the Kids Are Grown Up iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

Hello from Ireland for the next three weeks. It's beautiful and bustling here in Dublin while our job lasts, but we're really looking forward to getting a car and driving around the more rural areas. Next update, we can get back to doing our normal updates about our store and sales. We have a lot to talk about from the past several weeks.

But now we're excited to post this conversation with Rhianna and Edgar who are scavengers that live in Idaho and have dabbled in eBay and Amazon over the years. They were young parents who worked very hard raising their two kids and have just recently sent off them to college (success!)  After dedicating their time to being parents for much of their lives, it's time to make big changes.  Rhianna quit her job to sell on eBay full time. Edgar is keeping his job with eye to one day join her. They moved into a smaller house to cut down on expenses. Maybe they'll move to another state. Anything can happen. Now they can do anything you want. We love it. Freedom is having choices.

Hope you had a good week.

Scavenger Life Episode 276: How to Buy and Sell Postcards on eBay iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

This is probably one of our most anticipated conversations we've had with another seller. John (aka Spinach-eater) popped into our community a couple months ago and began discussing how he sells postcards on eBay. I guess for a lot of sellers, it's a dream to only sell items that are easy to list, store, sell, and ship. With almost 15,000 postcards in his inventory, he has a serious system and does very well.

When I was talking to John about recording a conversation with us, I asked him why people buy old postcards. We talk about the success we have selling weird, unique vintage items because people are often buying "nostalgia". They seek items you can't buy on Amazon or at Walmart.  I loved his answer because it's so important to know your customer:
I think everyone is a historian at heart. They want to see what their home town looked like 100 years ago. That old hotel on the corner is now a McDonalds. That old view is gone forever, except on the postcard. Or they always went to a certain beach/boardwalk as a kid and want to hold on to those memories. Most of my repeat buyers are collecting from just certain towns, or holidays. Very rarely will I get a buyer, buying multiple cards of different views. They don’t buy one of a ship, one of a town, and one of a holiday. They almost always but certain, specific categories. 
John was extremely generous sharing great detail about where he buys his postcards, how much he sells them for, how he ships them, and how he categorizes and stores them. He says he'll keep an eye on the comments if you have any questions. Enjoy!

Scavenger Life Episode 275: When Do You Scavenge? iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

Hey ya'll, we just landed in San Francisco after traveling all day, but we were able to record the podcast this morning before we left. So I'll keep it short, as the time zone difference is catching up to us (Jay is snoring as I write this).

Links we talked about-
 Hope you had a good week.

Our Store Week Sept 4-10, 2016
  • Store #1
  • Total Items in Store: 4,142
  • Items Sold: 42
  • Cost of Items Sold: $90
  • Total Sales: $1,564.00
  • Highest Price Sold: $160 (jewelry)
  • Average Price Sold: $37.23
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $60
  • Number of items listed this week: 40

  • ----------
  • Amazon FBA Store
  • Number of items sold: 11
  • Amazon total sales: $210.94
  • Amazon FBA Fees, COGS, Returns, Shipping: $100.99
  • Net profit after COGS: $109.99

  • Bonanza:
  • Sold 0 items for 0
  • ----------

  • Store #2
  • Total Items in Store: 1066
  • Items Sold: 12
  • Cost of Items Sold: $37
  • Total Sales: $500.91
  • Highest Price Sold: $200 (sink)
  • Average Price Sold: $41.74
  • Returns: 0
  • Number of items listed this week: 0

Scavenger Life Episode 274: We Don't Care About eBay Watchers iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

Each of us runs our own store using different techniques. One thing we do is ignore if a listed item has watchers or not. All we do is research the item, list it, and then wait for the right buyer. Every year or so we go through older items to see if they can be tweaked, but we know our items are long tail so just need time.

Why do we ignore the number of watchers on an item? What if an older item has ZERO watchers? Shouldn't that tell us that we've done something wrong?

Let's look at the numbers.
This week we sold 35 items.
11 of those items had zero watchers.
Most of those items have been listed more than a year.
So that's more than 25% of our sold items with no watchers, selling at full price.

If we had stared at the number of watchers, fretted and second guessed ourselves, then we may have ended up selling items at a fire sale because we might think no one wanted our stuff.

We have a healthy amount of items with large numbers of watchers that haven't been bought in over a year. If so many people are watching an item, why doesn't someone pull the trigger? Who knows. What we do know is that someone will eventually buy it. And as long as items are selling each day, it doesn't really matter what item it is.

This week we mentioned the following links in the podcast:
  • Shane sent us this article about "fast fashion".  Some companies are putting out new clothing lines every other week, creating a huge stream of unwanted clothes. The US is sending millions of tons of good clothes to the landfill because of the lack of demand.
  • The eBay 2016 Fall Seller Update is out . Make sure you read it. Takes about ten minutes but keeps you up to date on the small changes eBay is making. These updates come every Fall and Spring.
Hope you had a good week. Happy Labor Day, Trash Elves.

Our Store Week August 28-Sept 3, 2016
  • Store #1
  • Total Items in Store: 4,173
  • Items Sold: 35
  • Cost of Items Sold: $587
  • Total Sales: $2,229.32
  • Highest Price Sold: $1000 (artwork)
  • Average Price Sold: $63.69
  • Returns: 2
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $50
  • Number of items listed this week: 42

  • ----------
  • Amazon FBA Store
  • Number of items sold: 16
  • Amazon total sales: $592.60
  • Amazon FBA Fees, COGS, Returns, Shipping: $209.81
  • Net profit after COGS: $382.79

  • Bonanza:
  • Sold 3 items for $80
  • ----------

  • Store #2
  • Total Items in Store: 1080
  • Items Sold: 5
  • Cost of Items Sold: $10
  • Total Sales: $141.96
  • Highest Price Sold: $40 (vintage leather purse)
  • Average Price Sold: $28.39
  • Returns: 0
  • Number of items listed this week: 0

What Sells On eBay: Pizza Oven, Mid Century Percolator, Telefunken Radio, Wrangler Denim iTunes   YouTube 

Always a cornucopia of interesting sales from Steve. Check out those vintage Telefunken radios (amazing name, should totally be a Kraftwerk cover band). Some go for upwards of $1000!

Scavenger Life Episode 273: What's Your eBay Emergency Plan? iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

Cyndi of Amazing*Taste said that her ebay partner/ husband had to go to the hospital last week. As far as we know he's fine, but she did bring up a good question: what would you do if your eBay partner is out of commission? Could you still run the business alone? Or if you already work solo, how would things work if you couldn't list and ship?

We certainly depend on each other. Each of us does certain tasks each day to keep the store running. Ryanne could more easily take control of the business herself but at much less volume. Jay would have a learning curve when it came to shipping. Our business certainly would change if one of us got sick.

But if you do depend on eBay for your income, it would be wise to have an emergency plan if something did happen. Maybe find a family member and teach them to ship. Definitely try to put enough away in savings so your expenses would be covered for at least three months. Selling on eBay is living without a safety net unless you build the net yourself. There is no sick leave on eBay.

This week we also discussed an interesting conversation going on in the Retail Arbitrage world on Amazon. Cynthia wrote a blog post that warned that Amazon may be ending the ability to sell retail arbitrage. This means no more going to Walmart, buying out the discounted items, and sending them into FBA. She backed it up with sources and her logic. But then Ryan from Online Selling Experiment (who we interviewed several years ago) responded with a well-reasoned argument why Amazon would continue to let you send in items you buy at retail stores.

The bone of contention is the fear that Amazon thinks that retail arbitrage items are often discounted, clearance items that are not in new condition. Because sellers say they are new, customers are returning these items more frequently and having a bad experience. No one knows for sure what will happen, but it is interesting conspiracy theories are not just in the eBay community. It would be a game changer for many FBA sellers.

For us, we continue to sell used items on Amazon and have learned to list the as such. If Amazon did stop allowing "like new" items to be shipped into FBA, I can only see this as a good thing for eBay since those used items would be sold there. Ryan did say that Target no longer allows him to buy up all their discounted items in huge lots. Not sure if this is nationwide or just his local store.

  • We also mentioned some seller's issues with VERO claims. Please educate yourself on this because eBay does not fool around with accidentally selling counterfeit items on designer labels. Often these claims can be made in error and can still cause headaches fighting it.
  • Check out our post this week on how to make your listings mobile friendly This is an evolving situation as eBay slowly tries to get us all to improve the look of our items online. We're always keeping an eye out on the new practical tweaks.
Hope you had a good week!

Our Store Week August 21-27, 2016
  • Store #1
  • Total Items in Store: 4,171
  • Items Sold: 28
  • Cost of Items Sold: $53
  • Total Sales: $1,201.60
  • Highest Price Sold: $150 (Small wool rug)
  • Average Price Sold: $42.91
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $250
  • Number of items listed this week: 62

  • ----------
  • Amazon FBA Store
  • Number of items sold: 9
  • Amazon total sales: $161.56
  • Amazon FBA Fees: $77.45
  • COGS (shipment to FBA included): $20
  • Net profit after COGS: $64.11

  • Bonanza:
  • Sold 1 items for $20
  • ----------

  • Store #2
  • Total Items in Store: 1088
  • Items Sold: 12
  • Cost of Items Sold: $15
  • Total Sales: $332.89
  • Highest Price Sold: $40 (vintage wall calendar)
  • Average Price Sold: $27.74
  • Returns: 0
  • Number of items listed this week: 0

Are Your eBay Listings Mobile Friendly? iTunes   YouTube

Thanks to a tip by Jamie, you can use eBay's Mobile Friendly Test with any of your item numbers to see if they're up to snuff for people shopping with Androids, iPhones, Tablets etc. None of our listings were passing the test, despite having recently transformed them all into plain text with no active content or html. The great thing is, it's easy to bulk edit their code right into your listings, just follow the tutorial above posted by fellow eBayer Mesha Travesser.

The most obvious question is why aren't listings generated on the eBay website that just use plain text passing this mobile friendly test? The asnwer is: I have no idea. This is clearly a run-up to when eBay discontinues the ability to put active content into your descriptions. They want every description to be pure, plain text for mobile users. Hopefully, next year this code will automatically be part of their internal code for all listings. But for now, it won't take long to bulk edit, so you might as well give it a try!