Wth, guys? I have the exact same type Starbucks mug, Architecture series, except it's Los Angeles, and CANNOT GIVE IT AWAY. It's currently in Ebay limbo land where it's priced for $20 + BO. Had it for months now. But you may have had yours for months too. Honestly, I'm glad you sold yours because it gives me hope that mine will sell soon. I've heard lately from people that SB mugs have been slower sellers lately, so we'll see! As always, loved the cool and interesting sales.
Like anything, popular items become over-saturated once everyone starts listing the same thing. I also wonder how large of the collector community for Starbucks mugs is. Feels like a really niche market.With "list it and forget", we know that all trends usually come back around.
Also, I'd think that LA had a larger print run meaning there are more of them out there. SJ might be "rarer". And/or someone new to the SJ area developing their latest startup app might want it for their decor. I like making up stories like this, imagining where my items are going.
Brian, that makes a lot of sense. I'm just super frustrated that it's never sold because it's the only SB city mug I've ever found in the wild and was pretty excited about it.
Brian makes a good point. Like any collectible, the more uncommon items are more sought after. My guess is that LA mugs are easy to find. Mugs from weirder places (Osaka, Johannesburg, etc) will be more valuable.On the theme of over-saturation, I wonder if the Lego craze has started to wane. It seemed like there was six months when all I saw were posts about buying and selling Legos.
Haven't you talked before of oversaturation of Starbucks products online?Ah bread and butter items!
Jay,My personal experience seems to back up your theory about Lego as well. This brings up a bigger topic that is really interesting to me. Are there ways to tell if a category is over-saturated before you take the plunge on new inventory? Also, is there a way to see if demand for an item/category is on the rise. Staying on top of these trends seems to be a pretty important part of being a scavenger that sells on eBay.
Lego is definitely not over saturated. It's a timeless toy. They are always the first thing snatched up at garage sales if they are priced below eBay prices.
I've sold 6 starbucks mugs in the last month and a half priced anywhere from 24.99 up to 39.99, they do sell, but the market is kind of nuanced. I pick them up when I see them and generally stick to US cities, but there are certain mermaid mugs that are desirable, etc. It is definitely a niche market, I don't go out of my way to find the mugs, but if they are cheap enough...
A quick eBay search will show you the market is saturated. If I see 20 of my item I think real hard about buying it to resell. I do look at pricing pics and titles because sometimes yours will still sell because your listing is better regardless of condition or price. It's crazy.
Awesome sales! LOVE the Soviet hat (when I was a kid I had a strange obsession with the USSR and always did my school reports on it, which shows my age). Also, I need to start buying kitchen knives. And I had that yellow Sony Walkman in like 1991 - you weren't cool in 7th grade if you didn't have it.Some of my interesting sales this week (which, knock on wood, has started off amazing with over 10 sales already):1950s Revlon Futurama lipstick holder. I found one of these in the bottom of a box lot at an auction last year. After it sold for $25, I added it to my BOLO mental list and never pass them up. This is the first I found new in box, so I paid $10 for it - sold for $40 within 2-3 days. I even found an original commercial for it from the 50s that I embedded in the listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/2015934977331989 Dokken guitar & vocal tablature. At a sale, I found a whole box of rock guitar tabs like this (Zepp, Floyd, GnR, Van Halen, etc) and bought the whole box for like $3. Heavy metal/hard rock always does well, and this one sold for $20 quickly: http://www.ebay.com/itm/2015980263231970s Bradley Mickey Mouse watch. Bought this at a flea market for $3. It was only the body, no band, and the seller didn't know if it worked. I bought it and took it to my watch guy and he told me it just needed a minor adjustment and it was good as new. Bought the band from him for $5 as well. Sold for $90 best offer to the UK: http://www.ebay.com/itm/191790800899Gucci dustbag. Since eBay relaxed their restrictions on selling empty boxes and accessories like this, I've been doing well on them (last year I had 10 listings like this removed but now they're all good). Probably paid $2 for this along with a stack of other high end brand dustbags at a nice estate sale, this one sold for $30 best offer: http://www.ebay.com/itm/201563502105
i bet we're the same age, as i also had that walkman from 7th grade until i graduated high school. i loved that thing (and the headphones that came with it!).
O heck yeah...the first iteration of earbuds, without foam padding! Sooooo kewl we were.I'm 37 (turning 38 in July)... so we're in the same ballpark in age.
yep, i turn 37 on friday. we are on the razors edge of being millennials.
No. GenX 4eva.See if you can find this on NatGeo on demand or something: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/generation-x/
I'm 34 and there is no way I would identify as a Millennial. I have nothing in common with folks 25-35. My friends are all 35-45.
I am a Millennial all the way but I actually traded my no skip sony walkman cd player in 8th grade for a cassette player and $30 (my Mom was maaaad). No matter what cd player you got even if it said no skip the thing skipped every time. I absolutely hated any cd walkman and they were awkwardly shaped. I just wanted my cassette walkman back that I "upgraded" from lol. In college I did a report how cd walkman's were actually a step back in technology to the cassette walkman because the cassette walkman was smaller, more user friendly, and didn't skip unlike the cd walkman. I know that is out of left field but if you think about it it's true.
I turn 34 in August! I remember distinctly when graduating high school in the year 2000 that we were considered the first year of millennials because we were the first class to graduate at the beginning of the new millennium. That was it. Interesting article on old vs. young millennials:http://elitedaily.com/life/confessions-old-millennial/1399056/-a bookseller/ephemera lurker lady
That was a fun read. I love technology, but only to a point. I have to balance out by "cutting the cord" or by doing something requiring physical interaction of some kind.While I like streaming audio or video, I also love getting an old record of music I can listen to on amazon, or pop in a VHS tape or DVD of something that is already on Netflix. While I like the convenience of texting and online chatting, at some point I will randomly call a person I was texting/chatting just to mix it up.And on that tangent, I find it amazing that Amazon practically forces you to handle customer service over the phone. The biggest online merchant in the world, and they will wait 12 hours and then call you on the phone. That is unbelievable in this age! I bet that drives millenials insane.
Hi guys, not related to the post - lol - but just a heads up.....There is a post on the Reseller Society about reclaimed wood from an old barn in NC for 10 bucks a truckload. Just thought you'd like to know! Hope everyone has a great day!
Sorry, my post isn't clear! Check out the Reseller Society facebook page for the post. And this is Robin from HomeBaseGoods in CT....I don't know why it won't post my name above ;)
Thanks Robin! It looks like its a closed Facebook group. If you can provide a link or contact info of the wood source, Ill just go to them directly.
The barn is actually in upstae SC:Does anyone need reclaimed wood!?! Our new #farm came with this #barn full of old wood. We are selling it for $10 a truck load. You pick you pull and there's all types of wood. Text/call Daniel at 803-372-7972 if you want to come see it. Remember to follow us on the farm at @farmshenanigans on Instagram #reclaimedwood #oldwood #greenvillesc #yeahthatgreenville
interesting, we always need reclaimed wood, that's for certain!
Thanks for the link Cheryl.Here's a video of his wood pile: https://www.instagram.com/p/BGpe_hNs9a_/?taken-by=farmshenanigansIts truly incredible how much wood he has. It's a little too far of a drive for us without a guarantee we'd find the weeks we need. In another lifetime, I'd offer him a price for all of it and go into the flooring business.
Whenever I see free wood on Craigslist I think of Ryanne and Jay.
Week of June 5-11, 2016Total in-store: 1866Total Sales: $1038.63# Items sold: 39Avg Price: $26.61COGs: $228.91Highest price: $85 (Panasonic Lumix camera – free from the trash) International: 0Returns: 2Spent on new inventory: $105Number of items Listed: 94Donated to Project Semicolon: $4.40 Sold on Amazon MF – $14.94Sold on Amazon FBA - $33.80Sold on Bonanza - 0Good week. Steady listing is paying off for me. Finally sold some of the FBA stuff I sent in last month. Was beginning to think maybe I did it wrong. Question for the group -- how important do you think it is to have your store categories well organized? When I started, I was pretty lazy and general with my categories and now that I am approaching 2,000 items, I wonder if I should devote a day or two to cleaning them up? Because I sell a lot of random crap, I am not convinced buyers are "browsing" my store, but if it would help sales, I would spend the time. If not, I'll just keep listing. I can see the benefit of it if I was running a sale - but really, does it matter? What do you think?
In my opinion, it's not critical... you can certain survive without organizing. However, I prefer to have good store categories for when that collector of a certain type of thing comes around - records, military, toys, advertising, etc. I want them to be able to make it to my store and find everything that they might be interested grouped together.It also helps me a little bit. I can easily click the link and be like "whoa, I have way too many records. maybe i should have a clearance or reevaluate buying more."
What sold 6-7 to 6-14-16https://youtu.be/HpO3ausQ3Po
Another stereo brand to put on my BOLO list!
Neat stuff. Not only do I think of Lassie when I see your dogs, I think of that sad song that used to play during the credits. Why was it so sad??
I just listened to the Lassie final credits theme song; wow, that IS a sad and forlorn song! At least Steven's "Lassies" look super happy. :-) Thanks for the video, Steven.
What sold #13. https://youtu.be/v_zKPFcVnLkHighest sale: Isabel Marant sandals $120Items in store: 693 (Pushing hard for 700)no returnsno int'lListed a lot (where's a good place to find that number?)
sorry, i forgot to film several days last week! I will remake my video and post it.
@wallabee... for my number listed, I just sort my page by "start date" and count how much has been listed since last post. Old school.
I search "listing is confirmed" through my email and count them there.
Total sales last week $506.43Items in store 693Highest sale: Isabel Marant sandals $120Cost of goods sold: $37.72https://youtu.be/MXv6NZRnYXs
Wallabee,Back in January, someone sold a Galaxy fire-king mug for $76.00. (You said you wanted to know). I found it on Terapeak.Crystal
On the Podcast You guys talked about the empty boxes from the liquor store and the fact that the labels need to be covered or turn inside out.Why not just spray paint them. It takes about a minute, much easier than marking. Spray paint is everywhere, I have at least 8 half empty cans in the garage. If you need to buy it, the cheap stuff is about $1 a can. The box won't look any worse than one's that's been marked up.Back in the day, when I sold motorcycle parts, I used this technique..Just a thought...
That is so funny because I used spray paint on a ABC store box one time and when I took it to the counter the clerk said "you can't ship that, it smells like paint, someone might think there is paint in there"--as opposed to Jim Beam?After talking to the postmaster the box was accepted but I tried very hard not to laugh.
I just use a fat tip sharpie and scribble all over the box. Never had a problem shipping a liquor/wine box.
Why bother with a liquor store? Department and grocery stores throw out 100's of boxes of every size imaginable a day that do not have liquor markings on them.At Walmart you can go to the manager and request a certain size or style box and the night shift will fill a cart for you to pick up in the morning.
You can also cover the box in paper - I use brown kraft paper. (like grocery store bags) Of course, I got a pretty big roll of that paper free from work - so I don't mind using it to cover up.
I just use brown packing tape to cover the essentials. I have both the sticky and the kind you wet....got them free in stuff I acquired somewhere.
My local post office saves boxes for me. All the priority mail supplies come in brown boxes. Packing tape, labels, forwarding address forms all come in plain boxes. My p.o. is happy to save them for me, because then they dont have to pay the recycling company as often for pick up!
Love the tiebacks and lampshade. I have some vintage teepee shades up. Tfs.
I have another great buyer to beware of! As you can see they have left like 15 negative feedbacks. Probably a good idea to block them.http://feedback.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewFeedback2&ftab=FeedbackLeftForOthers&userid=iambuyinghere&iid=-1&de=off&searchInterval=30&items=200&searchInterval=30Long story short they get the item and complain there is rust on it.http://www.ebay.com/itm/161875939026In my description it says "There is damage. Rust, scrapes, dings, etc. Please review the pictures."They end up leaving a negative feedback saying "the item is junk". No case opened or anything (I wish there was because I would have easily won it). I got the negative feedback revised but I had to bite the bullet and give them a full refund. It was that or keep the negative. I also had to bite my tongue and boost their ego which is always fun. The line I like to use on these kind of people is "I can tell you're a reasonable person..." and then fall on the sword.My ebay rant of the day is I spoke to 4 reps to try and get it removed and they all gave me the line it's the buyers opinion blah blah despite my accurate description and their feedback history. So if you get a negative feedback like that you basically are at the buyers mercy. I did put each of the ebay reps through the ringer to put it kindly. After I know the conversation is going know where I let them have it even though I know it won't accomplish anything.
Thanks for the heads up. Has been added to blocked list.
I'm really disappointed you didn't get an ebay rep that stood behind you. The listing clearly shows the issues.Added to my blocked list also.
The faster list method is back again for me. I just wish it would let you save a template. It was much easier when I had one made up for popular categories I list in. And listing the upc is still fluky. Other than that I love it. And Ryanne let that kitty in. It's hot out there and he misses his mommy.
Once upon a time, ebay allowed templates for all. Now it is a premium tool and you have to have the $50/month store to access it. I'm looking forward to getting over 400 items, upgrading my store, and getting the template option back.
kitties are allowed in sometimes to the office. other times they are crazy hyper and jumping on my desk, knocking stuff everywhere and then sleeping on the clothes that need to get listed. they have a whole other house for that!
My black long haired cat goes out of her way to sleep on the white towels I put out for taking photos on. She hasn't been fooled by any of the "decoy" towels I've put out for her. If there isn't a towel then she'll find a pile of clothes to shed on.
Templates are for what level store? I have the mid level and I don't have them anymore. And I don't mean a cool eBay offered template, just one I create for my listings
With a mid level store you get selling manager pro for free. Here are the differences between selling manager and selling manager pro:http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/build-your-business-online/boost-profits/selling-tools/sellingmgrpro.htmlThe two big differences are templates and automated feedback.
I typed out a response to this. I'm not sure what happened to it. Anyways, mid level store gets you into Seller manager pro. The two big bonuses to Seller manager pro are templates and automatic feedback.Check to see if you have activated Seller manager pro in your apps.
Yes I have all of that but I still don't have templates that I had before the new listing method changed. I still think we may be on a different page about what template I'm referring to. I mean the option at step one where you hit sell and can choose to type something in, finish a draft, or use a template you created which basically is a full listing that when you open your just sell similar from so it copies everything. It was at the bottom of the page and now it's gone.
Great sales. That skateboard is cool but not the oldest. I bought one at an estate sale that was wooden with metal wheels. They told me that type was the first kind made. Very neat piece and I was going to sell it but my son, who's a hardcore skater, took one look at it and claimed it for himself. Now its displayed on a shelf in his room :)
I remembers attaching roller skate wheels to planks of wood growing up in the sixties. I sold a Makaha board a few months ago and researched some history here http://teacher.scholastic.com/scholasticnews/indepth/Skateboarding/articles/index.asp?article=history&topic=0
I had an interesting experience as a buyer on Amazon. My daughter needed a special shampoo used by swimmers. We found it for $8.00 with free shipping (not available through Prime) on Amazon. The package arrived by FedEx in a couple of days with Buy Buy Baby as the return address and a Buy Buy Baby card inside the box, so it was drop shipped. I checked the Buy Buy Baby website and the same shampoo was $2.99 plus $5.99 shipping for a total of $8.98. As long as I'm not missing something here, the seller lost .98 on this sale before paying the Amazon fee.
that's why i never understand drop shipping, i've had many similar experiences as well.
Maybe Buy Buy Baby was the seller and just charges more when selling through Amazon than when selling from their own website.
Or perhaps the person that did the drop shipping had a coupon or free shipping option from Buy Buy Baby?My mom is a couponer and dabbles in Amazon and does things like this... she might have $20 off a $50 purchase at CVS, Target, Walmart, wherever. She'll buy $30 of things she needs and then $20 worth of things to sell which essentially are free after the coupon. She can then sell them at the lowest rat eon Amazon without losing money.
Anonymous, it was $8.00 through Amazon and $8.98 through Buy Buy Baby directly.
OK - Nevermind, I must be getting dyslexic in my reading. :)
Is Jim Collins around? Did anyone out there watch "Last Week Tonight" on HBO this last Sunday? Outside of mentioning the tragedy in Orlando, the focus of John Oliver's weekly comedic rant was about active managed investment funds and how much you're losing in fees and how that compounds over time. He specifically called out how good Vanguard & other index funds are. It's quite good.Here's the segment (full episode available on demand if you have a subscription): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvZSpET11ZY
ps... there's some NSFW language so if you're offended by that (no judgement), don't watch
My sister told me about that clip. It was really good. A couple years back my boyfriend and I watched that Frontline that they source in the clip (at least we think it's the same one.) We were absolutely startled. John Oliver just did the same thing in a more easily digestible way.
Free Shipping x Paid ShippingFriends,A few podcasts back we talked here about Free x Paid shipping. Let me please share my case in recent days.I was struggling with limits and first thing I did when my limits were raised, I re-listed a sizeable quantity of small token items (mostly my own collectibles like doll house miniatures).The twist: they all were ~$5 items plus S+H (I always charge handling, very well called out in each item disclaimer). Totalling in average ~$12.I bumped up all items to ~$20 with free shipping. Guess what? They started to sell.So I moved my Coach purses up the same way with a larger bump and they started to sell (important to note, I want a $50 sale, I list it for $80 and accept the best offer for the price I planned. So for the same $50 item I moved it to $100 with free shipping to have the best offer around $70-$80).I am having the best 2-weeks since I started in January. I've beaten $500 for the first time (Actually at $700 before my week closes today).
Selling on AmazonHaving the best Amazon week so far (please note my sales are tiny, proportionally getting to the $300 in a week mark is a huge thing for me). Mostly related to the retail SW arbitrage, so not expecting this to last).I took the opportunity to list a bunch of books from $1 to $30 to feel the breeze.It is insane.As mentioned a few times here, other sellers keep reducing their prices at the penny level. Even for one of my softwares where my price point was $150, other sellers were going to $149.99, then $149.97, etc (even though these are easier since my elasticity is better).So what Amazon is being difficult for me to grow is the time dedication for Long Tail products (books seems one of the most difficult), even though cheap/free, the labor associated x return seems too much for me.
They have a price manager tool that automatically beats you by a penny. I did a test where I actively managed my listings to keep lowering the price by a penny to maintain the buy box. I was able to sell the majority of my arbitrage inventory with this method. I did that without a pro account.The only way to effectively do amazon Retail arbitrage is to have a pro account, do big volume, and have a price manager program. Doing it manually is sooooo not worth the time investment for the paltry profit margins.As for book sales, meh. I don't have near enough inventory to say one way or the other. I have a big tub of books I need to send in. I'm just so sour on the profit margins that I'm not motivated to get it done.
It seems the payoff with books happens when you have a very large inventory so the long tail catches up as you keep sending in more inventory like Andrew (Picking Profits). He has thousands of books at Amazon. Ryanne and Jay interviewed him in Episode 140, http://www.scavengerlife.com/search?q=Picking+Profits
Amazon actually has a price manager built-in for sellers: http://pages.amazonservices.com/WG069PRoOfR3WoH00n1Je00But I find its unhelpful for us because we only have unique items. It seems more useful if we had multiple of a handful of items.
For my arbitrage items, I am very good flexibility. Was trying to maximize but after learning this, I just lowered like $5 each and the penny rockers never match. Sold my inventory fast.Lesson Learned: worth continuing, making >80% profitFor books: due to time and effort, in addition to average earnings per item, I cannot see benefit or advantage.Wonder how these colleagues mentioned here manage the tremendous labor associated.Anyway what I will do is to grab the free book boxes I find every week on yard sales and will not dedicate time on item per item pre assessment, only on listing.
Question about final value credits. I noticed that when eBay gives me a FV credit for a returned item or for an item that the buyer never paid for, I only get a partial refund. If I have to refund the shipping, I get that amount entirely back but not the portion that belongs to the item price itself. So here is one scenario: I take an offer, buyer doesn't pay, I open an unpaid case, it closes and I only get a partial FV credit. Am I missing something? That seems extremely unfair.
Can you copy and post an example of the breakdown eBay gives you?
I accepted a $20 offer on a pair of shorts. I was charged $1.80 (9%) per my invoice. The buyer never paid. I opened an unpaid case. It was closed and eBay gave me a FV credit of $1.44. I go through my invoice meticulously each month and reconcile it to the penny and have noticed it before but it was such a small amount, I ignored it. I had 4 refunds/cancellations this month and I just don't want to ignore it anymore since over time, it could add up.
I just did the math for each transaction. eBay is charging me 9% but only gives me 7.2% credit. It was the same percent refunded for each transaction. I can't find anything on Google stating that is the policy.
@anon - are you a top rated seller? if so, you also get a final value fee refund at the end of the month which may be where the difference is made up.
Yes I am a top rated seller. I am a spreadsheet addict and I reconcile every amount. The difference never shows up that I can find, not even the next month. I'm going to call eBay and see what they say. I just wanted to check here to see if anyone could confirm this or if I was just having a senior moment. :)
please let us know what they say.
It got posted below @ 10:37 am comment. Sorry!
Just to clarify, they give you the 20% TRS discount lump sum at the end of the month and when they credit you back the FV, they take it out of that so you aren't double dipping. So everything is as it should be!
This is one of those issues that I'm sure people have posted about here before, but I can't recall what the consensus was on how to deal with it.Sent buyer a small bottle of vintage Shalimar perfume via Parcel Select on May 27th and it hasn't arrived. Tracking shows it left the PO on the 27th, but no further updates. I opened a case with the PO, and if it's found they're supposed to ship it to the buyer. Should I wait a while to see if it shows up before refunding the buyer or just do it now? What would you do?
how far was it traveling? that's a long time! but parcel is known to sometimes take a long time.
It was going from Mass. to Colorado, so that's quite a haul.
i one time had a parcel box take over 15 days to get from VA to NY but it was over sized. glad you opened a case though, that's smart.
Brian I just figured out what you meant! That's it! That's the difference. They gave me the 20% off the $1.80 ($0.36) originally and only credited me the difference of $1.44. Senior moment indeed. Or perhaps mommy brain as I'm only 37... Thx!
MrsKensingtonWeek of June 5-11Total items for sale: 122 Total Sales: $317# Items sold: 8Avg Price: $39.63COGs: $100 (includes an item I bought on eBay then resold; a mi$take at an estate sale. Just glad I got my spent $ back.)Highest price: $50 (old teaching materials) International: 2 (Canada)Returns: 1 (shoes were as described but didn't fit. very kind, apologetic buyer paid shipping both ways and restocking fee)Definitely starting to slow down as expected. Still, things are moving out and a few have sold this week so far, so I'm grateful.Sold something to a well-known Nashville musician, which was fun!BOLO: Vintage Tarot cards; Swedish "Hasbeens" clogs. One quirk: A buyer asked a question about an item. I answered it, then chose the option to add that question and answer to the listing. It's there in the web version of eBay, but in the App/Mobile version, you can't see it. So, I'm going to copy and paste the question and answer into the description so mobile viewers can see it. Thanks all. As always, I'm learning a lot.
Thanks for sharing! Good BOLO's.
Is there something to look out for in those tarot cards? A date code? Specific design or size? Dealing with vintage playing cards, I've found some resources to date them based on the code on the ace of spades and/or the tax stamps - does something like that exist for tarot cards?
Hey Brian, just a general comment about Tarot cards, I've never had any that didn't sell. Even small kit brands you can buy cheap at Barnes and Noble still sold for more than they should have. I get them anytime I see them. I just describe them if I can't find info but describing them to Google usually will pull up a pic of someone else's and u can go from there.
Interesting... I'll keep an eye out moving forward. Thanks!
An Open Letter to Amazon's Disappointed.You are doing it wrong. No seriously, I know I sound abrasive, but sometimes in a relationship it's not them, it's you. Here's why.Surprisingly, even though people claim they do fantastic selling all kinds of things on Amazon, there are actually two concerns: Front End and Back End. The former gets shouted to the stars, the latter often, but not always gets left out. Few people talk about the obvious black hole of profits: returns.We know from anecdotal evidence that certain categories generate high returns. Electronics is probably the highest. However Amazon Warehouse Deals might also be a good place to look around and get a very rough idea on what's likely to boomerang. Anything that is expensive, complicated, used based on subjective opinion and fit is axiomatically going to have a higher return rate. Compare this to anything media like books, DVDs, etc. anything where the human lazy factor can enter in, is a seller's friend. Return rates are dramatically lower, but still exist.I personally think back end is way more important than front. Sellers frequently are undercapitalized, and BLAM, a few hundred dollar returns can seriously impair making a living. There should always be reserve cash to cover your bets. At the end of the day, it's all about risk management. Certain " hustlers" aren't bad because they charge for their how to books, they are the bane of any newbie existence because they are extremely risk adverse and fail to adequately prepare newbies to properly hedge against slow sales, returns, velocity at different times of year. Rather than teaching risk aversion, these "helpful" retail arbitrage hints are quite risky and frequently blow up the new and unwary. But I digress.As for the front end on Amazon, what matters is: will it sell reasonably fast (under a year, but preferably in a few months or less), and obviously, is it profitable enough to be worthwhile to do.IMO, one of the most stable categories to sell on Amazon is books. However, not just any books. Since about 2003 we use an algorithm based on several factors to conduct arbitrage. in essence, we can support two people with less than 500 books in stock, at any given time, due to our velocity of sales. (We dabble in a few other categories, and for the heck of it, I got us approved in all of them, but as far as Amazon goes, we stick to books). And no, you can't go to dozens of stores and rely on luck in randomly finding them. Although, it's possible, I suppose.Ranking and margin is everything. Minimizing returns because the book is needed for use paired with the lazy factor is another. You are DOA without a high frequency price changer. Don't bother with books that will get u a paltry buck or two profit unless you employ several people and can make it up on volume. We generally won't bother with anything on the low end.This also lets me follow other pursuits: I have one of the largest Antique & Vintage Textile Archives, excluding Ralph Lauren's storage on this coast, which we are in the preliminary stages of putting online so designers can browse and buy, rather than me traveling. Of course, I love eBay, and I love the hunting and gathering aspect of it. I still can't believe what people pay for things. It's a lot of fun. My partner is against it, but I am really close to buying and renovating a place for Airbnb ing it, as well.Anyway, two of us have made a good living off Amazon for geez, over 13 years. It's possible, but you need more of a day trader mentality and properly manage the Amazon factors that consistently produce profit with minimal returns.Good Hunting people.EvePs- JAY, you have got to tell us about your bee keeping. Do you use it all yourselves, or sell it locally? Too cool.
So let's take it to the next step. How are you able to make enough on 500 books on FBA to fund a lifestyle for two people?--You're net profit margin must be enormous. Can you break down a typical month?--Can you paint us a picture of how you find such high quality books?
".. high frequency price changer. "Does this mean 'repricer'? If you don't mind, can you name what program you use and it's cost? Thanks.
Jay,Would love to hear an interview with Eve as I find her business model fascinating. Eve, I think you mentioned that you used to sell on One Kings Lane. Can you elaborate about that? Just curious!Suzy
Well step by step would have to step around some trade secrets but I will do what I can. We do not use FBA for books because there is no point to us doing that. We fulfill. My partner is a programmer. I built the algorithm, and my partner built the business infrastructure and "robot". I then look over an buy or not buy based on the selection. We do NOT drop ship. I have heard people do something similar with athletic shoes, but I have not heard about them in action. The trick is not buiding it, the trick is in how many times you can knock up any given site without getting the kebosh.As for OKL, I did well and I liked them a lot. When they moved the Vintage office from the West Coast to NYC, they changed their website around to make even finding the vintage section a real pain. Fortunately they have now made it much easier to find on the site. OKL will choose in advance which items that you have available to list at any given time. So they control that aspect and "curate"it. I think people are over the newness of flash sales, but OKL does decently with taking care of its vendors and you can price at retail. If you have looked, some of their vintage prices are eye bleeding. Its worth the effort and the "status symbol" haha, and I have met some great people, but its not as awesome as it once was.
We use our own pricer, however as of May 23rd, Amazon launched their own version for free, and it has its pros and cons. Check it out.Jay- its good, not sure about enormous. Its all about what type you look for and buy. IT can get very tedious as well.
Bed Bath & Beyond just bought One Kings Lane, not sure what effect that will have. And speaking of Bed Bath & Beyond...well, we can all use a chuckle now and then (warning: potty words)--https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhY2e1O600w
Jay you ask others for step by step processes but I want a step by step process from you on how you two are doing amazon with books. You're vague on the actual process steps or tell us to go watch other people's YouTube videos. I want to see how you do it not others. What books are you sending in. How do you interpret if it's worth sending in.
Hey Anonymous, this a good question. I explained how method for finding and selling books last week: http://www.scavengerlife.com/2016/06/scavenger-life-episode-262-how-to.html?showComment=1465999749606#c1996468781378147880We're definitely not someone to mimic. We're total amateurs. It'd be a good week if we sell $100 worth of books. This is why I have so many questions from sellers who make $8k a month just on books. I assume it's just about volume. Send in 8000 books and the pipeline will spit out cash. Though Eve seems to have some secret software to help her. Trade secrets.
Eve, could you explain what you mean by this? "the trick is in how many times you can knock up any given site without getting the kebosh."
So we're doing it wrong, but when asked for details on how to do it right the answer is "trade secrets" and "we made an algorithm"? I suppose we'll just keep doing it wrong then.As I see it, the answer is really simple:1. Scan a book2. Put it back if there are a million penny books and a pile of low FBA offers already.3. Put it back if the sales rank is something ridiculous like 10-15 million. Put it back faster if it also has penny sellers.4. If sales rank is 500k or less, consider it.5. Refer back to Step 2. 6. If There are high priced FBA offers and good sales rank, then buy and price around middle of the pack. Go low FBA if you want to sell quick.7. If there are no FBA offers at all, then that is the best book to buy as you will be the only FBA option.My personal minimum goal on a book is less than a million sales rank and minimum $12.99 sales price. That is the basics. Anything more than that is just an upgrade in equipment and software to do it faster and let the computer do the thinking for you based on specific parameters of sales rank and potential profit. Some apps will automatically bring up the sales rank and price line graph when you scan as well, which is awesome.Should I charge $10 for this info? I can make it pretty in a pdf, add some fluff to get the page count up, and throw in a few examples.
In step 4 I meant 5 million or less. 500k or less is a hot potato that you want.
One last tip, a lot of sellers will tell you to not buy things that amazon sells. That's not entirely true. If an item has a great sales rank, you can look at the price history and see "blips" that indicate that amazon ran out of inventory. If this happens in any frequency, that is a great thing. If amazon runs out, you can automatically get the buy box until they restock. I've sold several items because of this.
Jay--You gotta love the passive aggressive anonymous cowards that cheerfully absorb your wisdom, then post entitled demands. What a dick move Anonymous, when was the last time you helped a kindred trash elf, or even hit up a single Tip Jar, like, ever?My Cottage: You can sign up on Udemy tomorrow or go on Github and get the basics for building what is needed. What I mean by "getting the kebosh" is that you can only make so many "calls" into any system within so many seconds, or they will pull the plug on you and you wont be able to access to get your data to update squat. There are exceptionS to this, such as is if you already have a special relationship with them. We dont. Same principle applies to other places as well. Retro, Sorry I gave you a Fit of the Vapors. If you will kindly send your address, I'd be happy to send you some of those sponges that look like bricks so you can throw them at your Web TV, and really get it out of your system. In any event, I hope you feel better soon. Actually, you pretty much explained the crux of the problem: an individual scanner physically scanning and wandering to and fro has a lot less area to cover and has to hope the thrift, yard sale, remainder store, etc., hasn't been cherry picked by staff or already scanned to death by others.Then, one has to, as you said, pick one up, scan, put it back times xxxxx, Rinse and Repeat. Take a chance, hope you find books that will sell. (Don't get me wrong, running around and doing that can be fun and financially productive but there are a lot of factors outside one's control too). Admittedly, there are drawbacks the way we do it (the worst being boredom actually, but any programming change made by the Great Hamsters of the Internet to their web sites, could potentially end the way we do things. We have been able to adapt and adjust, programmically, for many years, fortunately.)Finally, there are exceptions to rankings. The first is truly rare books are by nature of their scarcity going to have a ranking that may be in the millions. (Which by the way, J & R have some serious sizzle on their steak in the cool book niche on eBay these days. Its a thing of beauty).The second exception is how sales velocity affects ranking. A 2,000,000 in the 4th quarter is doable and much better than a 2,000,000 in June or July. On the other hand, a 200,000 in Spring and Summer is going to sell slower than August thru February. Its all about how many folks are buying, so depending on your business model and time of year, that's something to consider.When it comes to out of print, collectible or antique books, my "go to" when I get stuck is bookfinder.com. They aggregate many different places, but its slow to search compared to what you may be used to. It organizes things in a way that works much better for me than Google. PS- In case it has not occurred to some of the overly entitled that leave drive by crass demands and comments from time to time, Jay and Ryanne relentlessly provide a tremendous free service that is a huge benefit to listeners and readers. They take significant time out of their lives to do so. My old chestnut isn't Time is Money. Time is far more precious than money because its a finite resource for us mortals. Personally, and again this is IMO, its ridiculous to demand that they tell or share even more than what they already do. Seriously people, perhaps it is time to Take a Knee and have a think. (And yes, you know who you are, if you do this, the rest of you need not read further) So here is some life's advice: if you are so incredibly clueless on so many levels, at least have a little class and be gracious about what is being shared with you. Anyway, I do not know Jay and Ryanne personally, but I really get offended when I see excessively uncouth behavior. I also sometimes wonder how people can text when their knuckles drag across the ground, but that's another story for some other day.
As for sourcing--book sales are good places to find books, thrift may scan books for value (my local GW admits to this) but you can still find valuable books there too because they can't scan everything. Auctions sell books by the box full as well. The book trade isn't rocket science, LOL.
PSS- As for our super duper secret, I have pretty much laid out the basic steps on how to build it. It has Zero to do with thousands in volume, although that is very nice.The reason I wont give it a way is it took me over a year and a half to get it from concept to the building stage. Production thru implementation took a great deal of angst, diplomacy, begging, bartering, threatening, a certain degree of fisticuffs, and even some good old fashion vomiting in a trash can. Finally, it was alive and functioning and actually, holy FRAK, working as I envisioned it! So call me the B Word or call me sentimental. I think I have given as much as I can on this. Peace!!
Omfug X Of course its not, and I am guilty as heck of buying books at both thrifts and auctions, although admittedly, not much.Its not rocket science, but you can scale it for consistent income and there is a science to arbitrage that is somewhat vaguely analogous to day trading, albeit less volatile. Recently there was an article about a company making a great deal selling various medical and health products doing something very similar to what I do with arbitrage. One of the owners are very nervous about his other partners saying too much. It was in the media in the last 5 months or so. Does anyone remember the one? I have to go look. Anyway, there is a difference. Personally, I dont care who or how anyone flips books. I am merely sharing that it has been my experience that it is possible to create a fluid formula for steady income via online arbitrage.
I can tell you are a reasonable person Eve. Congratulations on your success! Here's to many more years of you doing what you do.
Eve, there was no dickyness intended. I think you read me wrong. And as to your question, I've helped plenty. Your comments were way more offensive than mine. Now who's bashing whom? I just wanted more info, you're attacking me personally. But it's okay, you are entitled to your opinion even if you think I don't get to have one. I completely respect Jay and all that he and Ryanne does. So while I'm not apologizing to you for the misunderstanding, I will say I'm sorry to Jay if it came across negative.
Sometimes I feel that comments and email do a poor job of portraying subtleties. One reason I avoid Facebook! We're all good here. Glad we can exchange info. I'm sure we all have our different techniques and things that work for us. Have a great weekend.
Hi Eve, I'm not trying to get at your trade secrets, but I assume you're doing online arbitrage for books. Doesn't that still involve buying the book getting it, inventorying, and listing again? That would still seem to take a lot of time (in addition to all of the software back-end). I'm probably missing something, but just curious.
Eve, thanks for your response. I'm not a very tech savvy guy, so maybe I'm still not following, but I think I've figured out the source of my confusion (and perhaps some others' confusion as well). I was initially picturing your tool as essentially a "scanner" similar to the commercial scanners one can obtain to scan ISBNs and provide info from, say, Amazon. So, I was picturing you going to , say, library book sales with this scanner. But---and correct me if I'm wrong---what you are talking about is more like a web crawler, you can "crawl", say, a book dealer's online site and the tool will tell you all the books that meet your criteria. Which is why you call this "online arbitrage"....you are doing most of your sourcing online. I've bought books on, say, etsy, and flipped them on ebay for a nice profit, but as you note it can be tedious and time consuming to conduct a manual search that way. So I certainly can see the advantage of the tool you are talking about. Have I got the general idea now?
Anonymous, I'm not Eve, so take this for what it's worth. But I do sell books on Amazon in a very casual way, and can tell you that listing most books on Amazon is a matter of a few minutes per listing. And processing orders is really pretty easy as well with Amazon labels. The serious time and effort is in the sourcing, and it seems to me, Eve has figured out how to do that with minimal time and energy....not sure I could or would want to follow her model, but I am greatly impressed by it.
Eve I just wanted to say that I love the comment that kicked off this discussion--really interesting and it could be applied to whatever category one deals in. You have a system of course there is NO reason to go into detail here about it.
And our bee hobby is really small time and just for personal use. We got bees in 2008 and they simply haven't died yet. We're laxy bee keepers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9NNw0iqxzY
Trash elf honey for sale?
Here is a tip for vintage dealers, I went into a local antique mall yesterday and almost every booth was having a summer (slow) sale--15%--50%, and even those who weren't advertising a sale gave the standard 10% off "dealer discount" (you just need to ask for it.) I got several nice things at nearly thrift store prices.
deb truervaluesthanks, Sue, appreciate it.
That's ag reat suggestion. I always happen to hit the dealer that is too attached to their stuff. I try to haggle, I dont really low ball, and almost always they start hugging whatever I want to buy and walk away with it, leaving me standing in their booth alone, with question marks over my head.
Okay guys, I need you to sell me on accepting returns. Every month I qualify for top rated but never get the discount because I don't accept returns. I feel it encourages people to return more and given I've only ever had a few returns in years, it's clearly true for me IMO. But I don't want to discourage buyers from buying out of fear I'm trying to trick them. So I want to take the plunge but here's my main stopping point. I usually leave the money alone until either I receive good feedback or a week or so goes by. But eBay demands 30 day returns and I can't afford to wait that long on the money. Has anyone turned on returns and noticed an increase in sales? I guess if turning it on helps my sales then maybe it will make up for the returns. Okay I'm ready for feedback.
I think most here would agree with me when I say: Just do it. Most of us have seen little, if any, real increase in the number of returns we get. And most people, if they are going to return, will do it before 30 days is up...usually within a few days of receiving the item. Will it increase your sales? Maybe. But it certainly won't hurt them...a 30 day return policy creates more trust in your buyer.
deb truervaluesOnly had 5 returns in 2 years---usually for my own mistakes. I have offered roughly triple that number, but customers didn't follow thru, for whatever reason. Don't fear the returns.
@anon - What types of items are you selling? That certainly matters on the volume of returns to expect. In my experience (others can chime in too), clothes & shoes probably have the highest return rate because things don't fit/don't like the color/etc. I sell mostly vintage/collectible items and don't get many returns at all - for reasons that were not my fault, I might have only received 2-3 returns in three years. In my eyes, those 3 returns were well worth the 20% reduction in fees.
I have had returns for about two years and maybe 1 out of a 1000 return because they just dont like it. And those people have to pay for return shipping and eat their original shipping. The money I save on reduced USPS fees and final value fees pays for that one in a thousand people over and over. Not to mention the buyers who feel more confident buying from me. Like Deb said, the only time people usually return something is if it doesnt fit or there is something wrong. In those cases they will return it anyway but they will open a case and be pissed off at you. Returns are just part of doing business, but rarely in my experience do people abuse it.
EBay and PayPal are going to refund regardless of your policy so you might as well say you take returns and get the discount.
I only do vintage really and almost never get returns, yes, clothing has a higher rate of return, but even when I was doing more clothing I rarely had a return.
Offering returns creates a safer buying experience in the mind of the customer. I've been buying and selling on ebay since 1998, and while I never placed a return as a buyer, I scroll past sellers who do not accept returns. As a seller, I offer 30 Day returns and I pay the return shipping cost. In the past 6 months, I had 1 return from a buyer who changed her mind. She insisted on paying the return shipping and I resold the item in a week.
Is there some rule against starting an auction at $1,000.00 or is there a glitch in the new template? I tried repeatedly to download the auction, and then gave up and listed it starting at $999.99 and it worked.
Is your auction live? I looked at your store and the only auctions I saw were for knives and a rug - neither of which started at $999.99.Crystal
Jay and Ryanne, Do you provide links to your e-bay stores somewhere? I've been looking for them. On shampoo and booze, there's a link to check out your airbnb listing. Please send me the links! Thanks! Marisa
It is scheduled for after the holiday weekend. Not sure why I couldn't download it at $1K. Weird. But Ive never tried an auction that high before. I figure it doesn't hurt to try with a one of a kind item.
That necklace is amazing. I'm actually surprised you listed it so low. I would have doubled the price on it..even though you had it for a long time. What an amazing piece of art! :)
Sharing this experience for all the scavengers – I will try and be brief.- $40 item sale to a person in Georgia (I live in Michigan).- Person wants to return the item, they bought the incorrect item and admit it in the notes. Sure, I will take it back.- They follow the eBay return process and I get a tracking number.- I watch the item get delivered…. To Phoenix AZ (what the heck!!! Remember, I am in Michigan)- I call ebay, they close the return in my favor and I don’t have to refund the buyer. Because tracking clearly shows the item was not delivered to the correct address.- Next day, guess what shows up in my mailbox (yep, the item). My guess is somehow the wrong tracking number was tied to it.- I called ebay, they can’t reopen the return but suggest I refund the buyer via Paypal ( I have a 15% restocking fee, so I do refund 85% of the $40). eBay told me to call them back with the Paypal transaction ID. Also note, via eBay, I really didn’t have to refund the buyer because the case was closed, however, lets all agree it is the right thing to do.- So I refund the buyer the amount and call eBay and give them the transaction ID for the notes.- After I hang up, I check to see my final value fee credit, its not there.- Back on the phone with eBay. They won’t issue it because the case was closed. Really!!!, common sense has gone right out the window.- I escalate and after 15 minutes, they decide to credit me the $3.20.- I check my account, they only credit $2.55. My guess is they reduced their refund due to my restocking fee. - I am to tired to fight for the remaining $0.65.- Trying to do the right thing, and I get burned….- Again, sharing so we can all learn. I may send to Griff.- Thanks for listening….
If you are a top rated seller, you'll probably get the other 65 cents back at the end of the month when your 20% discount is applied.
About Amazon Automated Price Management:Friends - coincidence or not, all items, absolutely all items on my listing that were penny trailing (supposedly) some other seller(s) had a price tool reducing theirs by the penny, all of my items I decided to be more aggressive and make larger price reduction, all of them sold almost instantaneously this week, which for me is a big deal since from Sunday to Sunday I sold I tide short of $700.Even those cheap books listed by less than $1 sold (example, competing at the $.84 level, I reduced to $.75). Assuming once thing drove to the other
I have a question regarding restocking fee: do you all charge a restocking fee for items that don't fit? I typically don't include shoe measurements in a listing, only the size. I have a customer return for shoes that don't fit and the customer is asking me to waive the restocking fee. How do you all handle that situation?