We love the new Scavenger Life forums because of the ideas/claims that other sellers have about their eBay business. But many times sellers don’t have much actual data to back up their hypotheses (a theory is a hypothesis that has been tested and can be successfully repeated). So we like to run little experiments with our eBay store to see if we can improve, make our life easier, and hopefully earn more money.
Experiment #1: Free Shipping
We started this experiment last week when we put free shipping on over 1300 items. Most of these items are under 1lb. We raised each item by 10% so the total cost hasn’t really changed from the original price + calculated shipping. For the past 14 days we have seen no increase in sales on these items.
We’re going to let this experiment keep running, but we feel “free shipping” can’t hurt, but it also doesn’t turn on the spigot for increased sales. It’s just something you do to make yourself feel better to give you the illusion of control. Further data will bear out our hypothesis.
Experiment #2: Pay More for better quality items
There’s a common assumption that if you pay more for better quality items, you’ll work less and make the same amount of money. Instead of buying $1 items that will sell for $30, spend $25 on items that will sell for $100.
The issue of course is that there’s no guarantee that more expensive items will sell quickly and for as much as you think. It’s also not easy to find these higher end items that are not already priced close to their market value. Also, depending on eBay for a full time income means you must be able to consistently find and sell these high dollar items week in and week out.
This week we bought three items for $25 that we hope to sell quickly for $100 each. Stay tuned.
Experiment #3: The “I want my own selling platform” experiment
Every so often we get a seller who makes the case that just focusing on eBay/Amazon is a bad idea since you’re at the mercy of these corporations. The argument is that it would be a smart idea to put your items on your own website and sell directly to customers. You control everything and make all the money.
The problem is that we’ve never directly spoken to a seller who’s actually taken the time to do this and was willing to share their cost/profit. It takes work, and you still have to pay someone else to host your store.
So we tried to open a Shopify store. They have a two-week free trial period which is nice. They have an app that sucked in all our eBay listings. But our listings were all duplicated. Plus, they didn’t pull in all the info for each listing. Plus, they don’t sync with our eBay store when things sell. When we called Shopify, they said their importer wasn’t perfect and we’d have to update each of the 5000 listings by hand. Or we could pay for a third-party app that could import the items correctly, which tells us that Shopify isn’t a platform we’re comfortable with if they can’t do the simple stuff correctly. Mike from Atlanta had similar experiences and suggested that there are more expensive platforms to test.
If anyone has data from their own experiments, please share in the forum.
Terri pointed out that Shipping rates on all the carriers go up again in 2017. Still cheaper for us to print labels at home than go to the Post Office.
It was a slower week for us maybe because Christmas buying season is done and because we extended our handling time to fifteen days while we’re in NYC/Boston. Hope your week was good!
Our Store Week Dec 18-24, 2016
- Store #1
- Total Items in Store: 5194
- Items Sold: 29
- Cost of Items Sold: $40
- Total Sales: $781.02
- Highest Price Sold: $52 (Pendleton Poster)
- Average Price Sold: $26.93
- Returns: 0
- Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $200
- Number of items listed this week: 40
- Sold 0 items for $0
- Store #2
- Total Items in Store: 984
- Items Sold: 8
- Cost of Items Sold: $15
- Total Sales: $310.71
- Highest Price Sold: $120 (Vintage Bell Bottoms)
- Average Price Sold: $38.83
- Returns: 0
- Number of items listed this week: 0