02/26/2017 at 1:37 pm #13355
If you wade into the eBay community forums, you quickly get a sense of overwhelming anger mixed with powerlessness. These buyers choose to rage about
[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 299: What Control Do We Have as eBay Sellers?]
02/26/2017 at 2:01 pm #13359Brian Treasures from GrandmasParticipant
- Location: Hoboken, NJ
Listening as I list right now. Love the idea about checking sell through rate – it’s important to understand if your volume is remaining consistent in conjunction with how much things are selling for. I had 44 sales in January which is about 5.6% of my inventory.
Week February 19-25, 2017
Total Items in Store: 779
Items Sold: 14
Cost of Items Sold: $197
Total Sales: $671.96
Highest Price Sold: $130 (Four Star General flag)
Average Price Sold: $48
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $250
Number of items listed this week: 36
Good week in volume, total sales, and avg sale price – although my COGS were pretty high (nearly 30% of my gross sales). I sold many higher dollar items and the cost to get them were high. I sold the Four Star General flag ($130, $55 COGS), a One Star General flag ($100, $50 COGS), a tobacco pipe stand/humidor ($100, $15 COGS), 1896 Morgan Dollar ($75, $15 COGS).
Sourcing this weekend was also great. Hit up 4 estate sales that were all on their last day – I didn’t expect much to be left, but there was plenty and prices were incredible because they had to be out by end of day. Picked up 3x vintage Boston Celtics jackets, a Red Sox jacket from the 1960s, a bag full of Masonic pins & medals, Beatle Yellow Submarine original 1968 button set, vintage Harvard & Princeton souvenirs, and much more.
02/26/2017 at 2:42 pm #13363
My numbers for the week of 2/19/17:
Total Items in Store: 101
Items Sold: 25!!!
Cost of Items Sold: $98
Total Sales: $ 803 + shipping
Highest Price Sold: $166.50 (Harley Jacket)
Average Price Sold: $32.12
I had my single best week on eBay ever this week! The previous week I had reported that I had a weird 3-day dry spell and was feeling so unconfident about things. Then the sales started and my phone just never stopped cha-chinging! If only every week could be like this one! The ups and downs of sales really do toy with your emotions as an eBay seller.
I will not be listening to the podcast until Monday but glad to see you are going to be mentioning sell through rates. Sourcing items with high sell through has been my business model from the start and it is something many seem to overlook. I have added longer tail items into the mix through the years, but I truly believe the activity I get from those “sure things” help bump up my search ranking on everything else and improves sales across the board.
I am totally for using $.99 Auction Format on sure things. And I am even ok on using them as occasional “Loss Leaders” for my store. That doesn’t mean I actually loose anything….rather I might end up with an auction ending in a slightly lower sale price than I may have gotten with a BIN format, but it drove lots of activity to my store and spurred on sales of other, longer tail BIN items. The closest I can come to proving my theory is to remind you that eBay calculates Traffic Reports/Sell through/Click through Rates on your account as a whole, and they don’t do it for no reason.
I have been keeping up with my New Year’s Resolution of 20 new listings a week. Hoping the months to come will go like this one.
02/26/2017 at 3:44 pm #13368JoParticipant
Wow, good job Beth! You sold 1/4 of your inventory! Would you mind sharing what kinds of things you consider to be sure things? I’m thinking of trying a few auctions to weed stuff out.
02/26/2017 at 4:09 pm #13374
One of the best categories for sure things for me is Toys. Examples: Lots, Bulk lots of Legos (incl. some non-rare minifigs, not sorted by color or anything, include weight and actual photos of the lot), lot of Littlest Pet Shops (again, not including any rares). They will get bid up every time. And they work well because they are not identical to anyone else’s item…so they have good potential to go higher than the going rate because someone has locked in on mine as the one they want. In other categories, old tech like ipods work well. I did it with a broken/for parts Roomba this month. My advice for these type of items is to start at a $.99 auction and I always include this final sentance in my listing “Let’s start the bidding at $.99 and see where it goes!” Kind of gets some excitement going and lets buyers know it’s not just a piece of junk that’s priced low.
Actions are not dead if you know how to use them.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by BethGreen.
02/26/2017 at 5:15 pm #13379JoParticipant
Thanks Beth.My kids are grown now, so I’m out of the loop with most toys these days. I do know vintage toys. Sometimes I think I will go ahead and start learning, but then as soon as I enter a toy section I get the urge to run far, far away. Not sure why, but truly my most disliked category. I do have some of the tech stuff I might try.Good suggestion.
02/27/2017 at 11:10 am #13425
My daughter has a large lot of LPS she wants me to help her list. Do you have any good resources for researching and identifying the pets?
02/27/2017 at 12:45 pm #13441
The way I found out about them was by giving my monsterous lot (100s of them) to my 11 year old daughter over summer break one year. Taught her how to search ebay to find the pet # for each (may need to enter some or all to find the correct #: animal type/breed/color/eye color/and shape in the pupil of the eye). I had her asterik any pet worth $10 or more by itself. Took her a few days and she got $ for the job + a bonus when the 1st high priced pet ($35-40) sold. This was a few years back. The market is very saturated now. But I still buy them and can now easily see if there’s $$ pets in the lot. Basically look for Great Danes, Cocker Spaniels, check individual short hair cats or lot them, keep your eyes open for a super hero cat. I take all the common ones and always do $.99 auctions with them. Easily get bid up past $70 with a lot of 50 common pets that aren’t worth my time to list individually (though some people do). It’s good to keep in mind that although there is a big time commitment in researching, once you do, you are basically an expert and will have that knowledge that others don’t. I’ve probably sold about $1K in these silly little pets over the last few years.
PS – Most playsets aren’t really worth it but some are (Rescue Tails Center). If I have junk ones, I put 1 with a few common pets on a local facebook group and people line up to pay $20 for it.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by BethGreen.
02/26/2017 at 3:19 pm #13366
Jay and Ryanne you need to do an updated interview with your Art seller friend (I assume that the pastel you sold was his? a totally neat thing, I love stuff like that.) I am curious about the art biz in general. Second question, I see that you had a recent sale running–sales never seem to work for my kind of stuff unfortunately, but do you think that running sales helped your bottom line?
Total Items in Store: 420–>etsy, 210–>ebay
Items Sold: 11 (5 on ebay, 6 on etsy)
Total Sales: $546 ($319 on ebay, $226 on etsy)
Highest Price Sold: $165 (sculpture on ebay)
Average Price Sold: $49
OK week (I was getting spoiled by those higher dollar weeks lately, LOL.)
02/26/2017 at 4:10 pm #13375
Our friend has taken a hiatus from the art world for a while. He’s been doing real estate lately among other quirky endeavors.
We don’t see huge increases when we run sales. It’s really just an experiment. I guess running sales is just another way to feel we have some kind of control (probably just a fantasy).
02/26/2017 at 5:18 pm #13380
Yea I would like to know more about art. I’m having a real hard time researching what this etching might go for. It’s by CYRIL DILLON, an Australian artist. “Etching Melbourne Grammar School” dated 1922 35/50 signed. I don’t find any art by this guy on ebay. I do find them at several auction houses, but I have to pay a membership fee to see the prices! How can I go about getting values on something like this without the membership fee?
02/26/2017 at 4:00 pm #13371cebanakParticipant
- Location: South Carolina
Week February 19-25, 2017
Total Items in Store: 967
Items Sold: 13
Cost of Items Sold: $27
Total Sales: $622.94
Highest Price Sold: $239.99 (DeNicola Zodiac Brooch)
Average Price Sold: $47.91
International Sales: 1 – US Navy Flight Deck Helmet – $99.99
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $168.20
Number of items listed this week: 43
Ok so I know my listing over the last 3 weeks has really paid off with this great week. Highest sales I have ever had on eBay to date. Still not at 1000 listings yet, I only listed a couple of days last week. The Brooch sold overnight, I listed it last Sunday and got a offer at 2am. I got it in a table lot with a lot of other mixed jewelry and almost sold it with the mixed jewelry but I saw it had a makers mark. I did a little bit of research and saw they sold for about $240, I put mine up at $320 and was fine taking the going price.
Anyway about the topic at hand I think we as eBay sellers do have a lot of control over how our business runs. I like numbers and statistic and I do research items and categories on eBay but I know that it only gives me so much info on how my business will perform.
Facts are what we need when it comes to eBay and fact is the more you have listed the more likely someone is to buy something. Its statistics. If you have 1 item on eBay it might sell right away or take 6 months to sell, and that’s what individual items are. They all have a chance to sell between the time you list them and when they sell 1 month or 2 years later. It’s all about getting the item in front of the customer (building that pipeline). And the more listings you have the more potential buyers exist for your store. When I had 200 items in my store I might have sold 1 item a week or 5. With almost 1000 items I sell about 2 item or more a day, some days nothing but other days 6 or 7 items. But I have control over how many items I list and what inventory level I have.
I do remember you guys talking a few months back (might be a year at this point) about “plateauing” when it came to sales. It’s weird that would happen because you would think you could list till you had 10,000 items and your sales would increase at the same rate. But I think at the time you mentioned “Market Saturation” and I think its gotta do with sales dropping off at a certain number of items. Cause you’re saturating your own market. Thats why its good to be diverse in your inventory. eBay also grows every year and with it more people join or quite so you sometimes get new competition or lose competition but it just depends on the market and how those people are enjoying this “job”.
02/26/2017 at 5:41 pm #13385
Signed costume jewelry is something I really enjoy picking up–most costume jewelry sells for not much on ebay–but when you get one of the rarer pieces, like yours, the money is great (I have, what I hope, is a “sleeper” bought online coming in the next week myself.)
02/26/2017 at 6:09 pm #13391
Thanks, I needed this pep talk. The first half of February was great for me, but the last 10 days have been terrible. It’s hard to get motivated to list when almost nothing is selling. You are right, however; it’s statistics. I need to increase the number of items I am offering for sale.
02/26/2017 at 4:08 pm #13373IdahoarderParticipant
Store Week 2/19/17 – 2/25/17
Total items in store: 1118
Items sold: 15
Cost of items sold: $28.51
Total sales: $661.73
Highest price sold: $150.00 (Photo album of 1920s photos)
Average price sold: $44.12
International Sales: 2
Returns: 2 (One for size and one said that the measurements I gave didn’t match actual. I disagree, but it’s kind of hard to prove so I just refunded.)
Money spent on new inventory this week: $21.42
I never do auctions anymore, but I tried one for the photo album. It seemed like something that might get a lot of interest, so I gave it a try with a high opening price. I only got one bid, but it was $150, so I was happy. So a bunch of family photos from Oregon are now on their way to Italy!
Now it’s time to listen and list. I’m slowly but surely chipping away at those death piles!
02/26/2017 at 4:52 pm #13377
My Muppet lunchbox! Totally had that one. <3
02/26/2017 at 5:09 pm #13378WallyishereParticipant
My first real week getting started! It’s been great, and I’m chugging along nicely so far.
Total Items in Store: 52
Items Sold: 5
Cost of Items Sold: $24
Total Sales: $149.12
Highest Price Sold: $51 (decent autographed sports card)
Average Price Sold: $29.82
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $~60
Number of items listed this week: 57
02/26/2017 at 5:19 pm #13381
I’m having a real hard time researching what this etching might go for. It’s by CYRIL DILLON, an Australian artist. Etching “Melbourne Grammar School” dated 1922 35/50 signed. I don’t find any art by this guy on ebay. I do find them at several auction houses, but I have to pay a membership fee to see the prices! How can I go about getting values on something like this without the membership fee?
- This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Beverly - Far Out and Fabulous.
02/27/2017 at 9:45 am #13415
Beverly, an etching titled “Chapel Melbourne Grammar” sold for $159.
Most sites show you pictures and titles but want you to pay to see prices.
Findartinfo.com shows titles and prices but wants you to pay to see pictures and other information. You can easily cross-reference searches using two sites; I often just use findartinfo.
02/27/2017 at 11:00 am #13424
That’s very helpful info. Thanks, great site. B.
02/26/2017 at 5:37 pm #13383KarenParticipant
Wow you had a great week! I think I would have to keep that bowling ball! Who is the seller on eBay of china that sells expensive one off plates? I’d like to do that! LOL
I have had a very slow two months. It just picked up for me in the last couple of days.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Karen.
02/26/2017 at 6:02 pm #13390Steven SParticipant
- Location: South Dakota
Feb 19-25 2017
• Total Items in Store: 720
• Items Sold: 21 eBay 1 TrueGether ($300)
• International 5
• Total Sales $2016
• Highest Price $500 8-Track recorder
• Average Price Sold: $92
• Returns: 0
• Cost of Items Sold: $185
• Cost of items purchased this week $40
When I sell a lot I don’t list a lot, so goes the cycle of hot and cold weeks.
02/26/2017 at 8:04 pm #13396Kelly1mmParticipant
- Location: Maryland
Items/listings in store 1638/1457
COGS $29.63 for items, $68.50 free shipping = $ 98.13 (I offer free shipping on 99% of my items)
Highest Price Sold: $89.99 shipped USA Made Vintage John Deere Patch Hat– 4.00 COGS
Lowest Price Sold 16.00 shipped (TailorByrd Flip Cuff Shirt COGS $1.05, shipping $3.85, packaging .25, fees $1.91 = $7.06, profit =$8.94)
Average price Per Sale $29.52
Intl – 0
Returns – 0
$ spent On New Merch –$65
Listed New 69 Items
Return rate 1.33% overall / 1.72% clothing
Took an unofficial offer on the Tailorbyrd shirt. While I do not have best offer enabled I still get 5-15 ‘offers’ a week. What I do is NOT reply with offer as I want to maintain the immediate payment required. So, what I do is have a conversation with the buyer and let them know if we come to a deal I will immediately change the buy it now price. All the buyers have understood and no problems yet. The shirt was a 99 cent tag day item and was under a pound shipped so a $16 was fine for me. It was originally $19.99, buyer offered $12 I said $16 and they agreed.
02/26/2017 at 9:37 pm #13399Rydell RelicsParticipant
RR Store Week February 19-25, 2017
Total Items in Store: 1209
Items Sold: 31
Cost of Items Sold: $34.95
Total Sales: $573.13
Highest Price Sold: $60 (Lot of 8 House Of Blues plates)
Average Price Sold: $18.49
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed this week: 62
This week, I pulled money out of the garbage…literally.
As a kid/teen/20-something, I saved almost everything. Apparently that included saving the long cardboard boxes CDs used to be packaged in during the late 80’s/early 90’s. They were mostly blah, but there were some gems: The Smiths, Beastie Boys, The Clash, etc. I picked about 5 good ones, then tossed the rest into the recycling bin. I mean, who would want a Bangles Greatest Hits longbox? After some research, I ran outside, fished them all out, and listed every single one. They actually sell! So far I’ve sold 15 for about $140, all but one to the same person. The lesson I learned is that occasionally my gut is wrong, and if I’m not 100% sure about an item, I should check Sold Listings before throwing money in the trash.
Decent week. I ran a 15% off sale and cleared out a bunch of old, low priced items; my average price reflects that. Fine with me. And I’m slowly creeping up to my short term goal of $700 a week. I’ll get there soon enough.
P.S. I hate “Estate Find” too! What a waste of keyword space to promote something nobody cares about.
02/27/2017 at 11:34 am #13427
I had to look up CD longboxes to see what you were talking about, Rydell. Wow, who would have thought that those were collectable? I’ve never seen them out in the wild while scavenging, but it’s nice to know in case I do spot them.
02/27/2017 at 1:19 pm #13453Steven SParticipant
- Location: South Dakota
I remember the CD long boxes, they were to prevent theft at the store.
I had an idea back in 1988 to build frames for them to hand on the wall but never followed through.
02/26/2017 at 10:35 pm #13401ebaymomParticipant
- Location: Ohio
My numbers for February 19-25, 2017:
Total Items in Store: 794
Items Sold: 16
Cost of Items Sold: $21.49
Total Sales: $216.06
Total Profit: $115.58
Highest Price Sold: $26.36 (NWT Men’s Purple Sweater)
Average Price Sold: $13.50
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $130.27
A lot of low dollar sales again this week – many clothing items. I was taking many low offers on first class items with free shipping because I was hungry for sales. (Really kills the profit margins – when you take a 50% offer on a t shirt with free shipping!!! I’m looking at my numbers and getting down on myself because $4.36 profit after fees on a shirt, well, that is terrible!) But I’m taking it as a learning experience. This coming week, I will be taking best offer off of most items under $36.95, moving completely away from free shipping, and focusing on listing higher dollar items. For some reason, my shoe sales are way down, not sure if anyone else has noticed this trend this month…
02/26/2017 at 10:35 pm #13402
It has been a great week\month. February has been a slow month for me in the past – much less than 3% sell through rate. February has been great this year. Only at about 3% sell through rate, but I’m selling much higher priced items.
I track my historical sell through rates and this is the basis for my future forecast. Ad they say in stocks, “Past Performance is no indication of Future results”. This is true, but they also say, “.. but that is all we have to go on”. I think this is true. My actual performance is usually very close to my historical numbers, but it can differ such as this month has.
02/26/2017 at 10:42 pm #13403
I have a picking story from today. I went to an indoor garage sale. I bought a bunch of sports equipment, but for some reason I didn’t look at the baseball bats. Well, my guardian picker angel was looking after me. The guy at the sale came up to me and asked if I played softball. I said, “Yes, in the past, but not lately”. Then he handed me two bats and said to take them, so I did. When I got home and looked up the one bat, it was selling for nearly $150! I’m not going to turn down any free things!
Also, one thing I need some advice on. I picked up a VHS\VCR combo at the same sale above. It sells for about $100 on ebay for the US version, except this one only works with Japanese DVD’s. Now, I would think this would make it more valuable if I can find someone to buy it. Does anyone have experience selling DVD players for other regions? I didn’t see any on ebay that I could find.
02/27/2017 at 9:55 pm #13497
I don’t have experience selling foreign/non-region-1 DVD players on eBay, but I do have experience buying them. But that was several years ago, we bought a Japanese region 2 dvd player close to 8 or so years ago. At that point it was difficult/expensive to get one from Japan or to buy a region-free player.
These days it seems easier to get them. And there are a lot of dvd hacker sites on the internet that show you how to reset the region for a cheap US region-1 players. That is what we did for our last player, and it works well for us, and for a lot of folks in our little Philly ex-pat community.
All that to say, I wonder if the value of foreign-region dvd players hasn’t gone down quite a bit over the past few years?
02/26/2017 at 10:50 pm #13405SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
Week of Feb 19 – 25
* Total Items in Store: 690
* Items Sold: 13
* Cost of Items Sold: $11.27 + ~$5 Commission
* Total Sales: $269.05
* Highest Price Sold: $50 for vintage La Cava Italian bowl
* Average Price Sold: $20.70
* Returns: 0
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
* Number of items listed this week: 32
This was a good steady week. I’ve spent way too much money on new inventory recently, so I was glad to step back this week. My main thing is online auctions, and there are two with pickups for next Saturday. I’m sure I’ll list money spent on new inventory next week.
For the topic of Facebook, I belong to a local “yardsale” group. I know that several people who list there often are making some decent money. They might not be getting eBay prices, but definitely not flea market prices. I believe that they also list on several sites, so they will say “XP”, which means cross-posted, on their listings. So someone will say “interested” for one of the items, and then the seller will answer that the item is pending pickup from another site. Just like eBay, there is a whole acronym language. Other than XP, there is PPU that might mean Porch Pickup or Pending Pickup depending on where it is used.
So far, I’ve used it only for items I didn’t feel were worth selling on eBay. I recently sold a large ceramic decorative watering can for $10. It was made in Italy and looked expensive, but had a $30 price tag from Home Goods on the bottom. I could have made more on eBay, but it was rather large and breakable, and I decided I didn’t want to bother with packing it. So, I was happy to meet someone at a local CVS parking lot and do an exchange.
02/27/2017 at 7:25 am #13408IndyBrittParticipant
My store is tiny compared to all of you, so a busy week is 6-8 items. But I realize that can be solved with just listing more and having quality items. Bundling is now a new approach for me to get more higher dollar sales and clear out death piles.
Big things I know I can control is inventory. My gut tells me pick it and put in cart; but my mind tells me to research before you buy.
02/27/2017 at 7:57 am #13411
We had a good week also. We hit $5000.00 total sales plus shipping (clothing seller so lots of $15 sales). I wondered if the increase in sales had to do with tax refund checks starting to roll in?
02/27/2017 at 8:02 am #13412
Could be the early tax filers.
It’s always incredible to me when you can gross $5k in a week on so many $15 sales (mixed with higher dollar sales). That’s seriously cranking it out.
02/27/2017 at 9:04 am #13413
Its a lot of work for sure. Someday I would love to come and pick your brains for awhile. You guys are still getting crazy profit margins and like you said at the end of the day, like you said it only matters what goes in the bank.
02/27/2017 at 10:00 am #13416
AmazingTaste…I am amazed! Do you have multiple employees? How many people does it take to run a business with such big volume? Thanks.
02/27/2017 at 10:28 am #13418
Cyndi explains it all here: http://www.scavengerlife.com/2015/05/episode-197-seller-conversation-wi.html
Though some time has past. Some of her process may have changed.
02/28/2017 at 5:12 am #13510
Some things have certainly changed since that interview, but it is still just my husband and I working out of our house. No new employees (although we do hope to employee our daughter this summer) and no warehouse.
02/27/2017 at 10:19 am #13417
Total Items in Store: +/- 160
* Items Sold: 8
* Cost of Items Sold: $50
* Total Sales: $400
* Highest Price Sold: $175, vintage watercolor
* Returns: 0
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: too much
This week I tried sourcing items at a semi-local auction and again left with the feeling that buying at auctions isn’t my optimum method. I’m way too neurotic (I hate being watched, and hate competition) and way too susceptible to the “needful things” effect, where I’m seeing what I *want* an item to be, not what it really is. I paid up ($100, huge for me!) for something I basically mis-identified (I don’t think I’ll end up losing money, but it’s not the score I thought it was.) Afterward, I went to a junk store and, for a much more comfortable $30, at a much more leisurely pace, got a huge box of super-cool stuff which should net a few hundred dollars. I’m not totally giving up on the auctions but I’ve got to be more careful and Zen while I’m there. Maybe I should start arriving later and just going for the box lots, which are at the end of this particular auction.
Not included in my numbers this week was a rather large sale of a truly terrific antique painting for a friend. The sale involved days of negotiation, literally 6 or 7 messages a day from the buyer, and hand-building an enormous box adequate to survive international shipping. For those considering selling on consignment — don’t underestimate the time involved, the packing, the customer issues, etc., when negotiating your rate. This was a freebie for a friend, but it definitely gave me some chewy food for thought re: consignment.
My second largest sale this week was a $90 piece of no-name handmade pottery, possibly even a student work, which went to a set decorator. This was a $2 find at a thrift. Keep an eye out for those interesting vases and bowls!
02/27/2017 at 10:46 am #13421
When I first got into selling on eBay, every item was an auction. Most were duds that sold for maybe around $15. I would say that maybe 10% of my auctions surprised me with the final sale price. These days, I’ll only list maybe 3 or 4 auction formats a month since I’ve become better at researching items.
02/27/2017 at 1:25 pm #13454
Great sales this week Kate.
“where I’m seeing what I *want* an item to be, not what it really is.”–>the number one issue I have when buying online, I keep reminding myself to really LOOK at the item (if the photos are really bad I’ll pass.)
02/27/2017 at 10:29 am #13419
Feb. 19 – 25
Total Items in Store: 525
Items Sold: 11
Total Sales: $756
Highest Price: $356 (Silk Korean Catholic Book)
Average Price: $69
Cost of Items Sold: $21
Costs of Items Purchased this Week: $15
I had a great week as well (at least for my small store). Several high priced items sold which helps boost my motivation to keep listing. I decided to give the auction format another shot this week. I use the auction format for more one-of-a-kind items that I don’t have much info about. So I describe it in super descriptive detail and see what happens. It paid off this time for sure! I had a Korean “book” made out of fabric and paper. I very nearly threw it away because it didn’t look like it would be desirable. Well the messages started rolling in not even 15 minutes after I listed it. “I’ll give you $30 right now for this.” “Could you add a Buy It Now to this auction?” Well that set my heart a-beatin’. To make a long story short, the bids jumped from $30 to $356 in the last 30 minutes. My God what a rush! It really goes to show that what one person might think is junk can really be absolute treasure.
This past week I’ve spent taking photos. I think it might be my least favorite part of being an eBay seller, even though photography is one of my hobbies. I work a full time job, so it took me a whole week to photograph 120 items. But I go to great lengths to get every detail. It really resonates with me what you mentioned in this week’s podcast about being in control about the quality of pictures one must take to make the sale. Taking a minute or two extra per item to really get those shots is worth it.
I didn’t do much in the way of scavenging last week. I went to an auction that I thought would be very promising only to walk out with one item that I think I overpaid for. Such a bust! I wouldn’t have been so butthurt except the auction was almost an hour and a half away. Lesson learned: always look at the preview photos with a critical eye.
02/27/2017 at 10:35 am #13420
That’s an awesome sale. What percent of our auctions end up in bidding wars?
02/28/2017 at 5:14 am #13511
I would be interested to know this also, as most auctions seem to end at the opening bid. Although I do know an antique seller that does amazingly well and they are all auctions. So, maybe you have to build a following to be successful with auctions?
02/27/2017 at 10:48 am #13422
2/19 – 2/25
Total Items in store: 399
Items sold: 6
Cost of items sold: approx. $36.50 ($30 on a retail arbitrage)
Total Sales: $162
Highest price sold: $ 70 wrench set – RA, $30 vintage quart ther mo pack cooler
Average price sold: $27
Int’l sales: 1
Returns:1 cranberry Pyrex casserole dish – wrong size ordered
Number of items listed this week: 0
Amazon disbursement – $0
Full time ebay goal – was March 2018; now – ????
Ebay to Amazon – 2 sales – $167, COGS – $46, fees – $27, profit – $94
The goal is to get done with my house flip this week and get back into selling on ebay and amazon.
02/27/2017 at 10:50 am #13423
Can you sketch out the house flip numbers?
–What was the cost to buy?
–What was the cost to renovate?
–How much do you expect to sell it for?
02/27/2017 at 11:39 am #13428
I bought the house for $18k. I am going to ask $45k, but will probably take whatever I can get over $35K. I looked at the house to rehab and sell and decided it was not a good location. When the seller told me they only wanted $18k for it I decided to just clean it and sell it as-is. Someone will buy it and turn it into a rental house.
The house belonged to someone who was a border-line hoarder and they had animals inside. When I bought it, the smell was almost unbearable. I de-trashed it (I got about a $1000 worth of stuff to sell on ebay), pulled the carpet(there was hardwood underneath), and have been cleaning 3 nights a week for about a month. I have spent less than $100 on cleaning supplies. The house has two issues, the plumbing drains slow and the bathroom needs some attention. Other than that it will be a solid rental from somebody.
I have been looking for a traditional house to rehab and sell, but they are hard to find around Nashville right now, the market is a little on the crazy side. If I find one, my boss and I are going to partner to flip it and I will let you know how that goes. Our model is to find a house for $80K, spend $40K to renovate and sell around $140K.
02/27/2017 at 11:48 am #13429
Sounds like the first house is a pretty good flip. You could make $10-$15k with a little effort.
Your second plan seems to be a little too low profit.
Buy for $80 and spend $40. That’s $120k.
Then split $20k profit?
Seems like its make more sense to turn into a rental.
Then you get all the yearly business deductions while you’re building equity.
02/27/2017 at 12:01 pm #13433
Yes, if I can clear $10k to $15k on the first house I will be happy.
The split with my boss is as such: I buy the house, he manages and pays for the remodel. The way I look at it I can invest $80k, and get a $10k return within a few months. If we can do 3 houses a year, that would be a $30k return on $80k, not a bad percentage. Also, I am not locked in. At some point I want to use profits from this, ebay and other ventures to purchase commercial property as a long term investment. I have discovered in the past that I do not want to own rental houses, it is just not who I am.
02/27/2017 at 12:36 pm #13440
Understood. if renting isn’t an interest, that’s valuable info to know about yourself.
That’s amazing that you cold flip houses on someone else’s dime.
02/27/2017 at 11:49 am #13430
You likely have a clog way on down the line. Hire a plumber to come power auger the lines. It will cost you $100-$200 but the plumbing issue will be solved.
I fought a slow drain issue for over a year before I could finally stomach the idea of hiring a plumber. I wish I would have done it sooner.
02/27/2017 at 11:56 am #13432
If its a quick flip, let the next owner deal with it. if its an old house, it could be galvanized pipes that are just getting corroded: https://www.google.com/search?q=galvanized+pipes+clogged&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS616US617&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiwo8eX37DSAhVhz1QKHbx0CpkQ_AUICSgC&biw=1269&bih=680
Its a big fix.
02/27/2017 at 12:23 pm #13436
My guess is that it is galvanized pipes. I decided to not hire a plumber and disclose it when I sell. I did fill the bathtub almost 2/3 and it drained no problem, so it might not be anything??
02/27/2017 at 2:05 pm #13464
we have galvanized drain pipes in the tub at the farmhouse rental so it drains slow every few weeks. what we do is cover the overflow w/ a wet rag and a plastic bag stuffed in there to create suction. full the tub up a couple inches, then we use a plunger to plunge the drain. this helps break up the gunk and move the water along. might be good to do before you sell, not that anyone is going to test the tub drain.
02/27/2017 at 11:25 am #13426
Total Items in Store: 607
Items Sold: 9
Cost of Items Sold: $42.50
Total Sales: $217
Highest Price Sold: $40 Under Armor football cleats
Average Price Sold: $24.11
Average Profit: $19.38
This week I started the long awaited Inventory reorganization project. Yay! I am going through all of my listed items and labeling the consolidated tubs with a new, better system. I’ll make a post over in storage for the details. What has really intrigued me are two things:
1. I have already filled a tub with things I KNOW were listed, but were gone from ebay. Most of them were buyer cancelled sales that I verified through my ebay email history. I ALWAYS relist these, so I have no idea how they are consistently disappearing. It is truly concerning to see this trend so far.
2. I mainly worked on shoes this weekend – about 16 totes worth. I wasn’t listing new items – I was just assigning a new custom SKU to items directly through the active items list. Maybe a coincidence, but I sold 6 pair of shoes this weekend after doing this work. That is an unusual trend for the level of sales I’ve had over the past couple months.
I can’t wait to finish this project as it badly needed to be done.
In other news, I had a contractor come by to measure my yard for a privacy fence. The quote will come in this evening. I have to get back on the listing wagon to pay for this fence!
02/27/2017 at 11:52 am #13431PDX_CyndyParticipant
It is very weird how sales come in spurts. I had 0 sales from Tuesday to Thursday last week. Then I had my best weekend yet. 8 sales in a 200 item store. I have a variety of items, but all the sales were clothing and one pair of shoes. I think people must be shopping for their spring/summer wardrobes now. Best sale was the shoes, men’s Fluevogs purchased at Goodwill for $20, sold for $65 + ship.
02/27/2017 at 12:35 pm #13437
On a smaller store, sales will definitely be more up and down. A larger inventory will even things out if that’s what you’re going for.
02/27/2017 at 12:18 pm #13435ChristineRParticipant
- Location: Southern California
Total Items in Store: 317
Items Sold: 7
Cost of Items Sold: $95
Total Sales: $285
Highest Price Sold: $85 (New Anthropologie lamp base – paid $28 Spring clearance)
Average Price Sold: $40
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0 – Week 10 (I think) of no scavenge challenge
Number of items listed this week: 10
Enjoyed the Podcast. Price is key and I tend to go high but now I’m looking to move things out a bit faster if I ever want to shop again. I think another bit of control is not relying on EBay’s internal search limitations (whatever those may be) and putting your item out there on social media for the Google searchers. Ebay has admitted in writing that they manipulate best search results and my suspicion is that are things they are not sharing with sellers – sorry, I know I know!. When Amazon has physical storage capacity issues, everyone necessarily finds out. If Ebay has capacity issues (I’m not a techie) they probably aren’t going to announce that. I’m pretty happy with Ebay though at least on the RA front but I can only share my own experience that I always shake loose a couple of sales after a listing day and after the successful completion of an auction. I’ve been listing long enough and inconsistently enough to notice these patterns in my small store. I’m hoping Etsy continues to grow and that I have time to tackle learning that platform as a compliment to Ebay for my vintage finds.
Local Facebook groups have been mostly disappointing to me so far on the selling front. The groups have become large and users I suspect browse and overlook the search function. One local group was pretty high end, but then as it grew it became muddied up with lower quality stuff. Also people (like me) are generally hunting for great deals, like on Craigslist. However, I have some common Pyrex sets and art I might try there this Spring so I don’t have to ship them. Sometimes I have an item that gets likes and comments early on so it stays toward the top and has a better chance of selling. I don’t belong to any national collectors FB groups yet but it will be interesting if others comment on that going forward.
Slow progress on the backlog, but I listed some Easter stuff on Saturday. Have a great week!
02/27/2017 at 12:35 pm #13439
Yes, list list list. With your good taste, I bet your sitting on a goldmine. Just need to make the items available for sale.
02/27/2017 at 12:52 pm #13444LoveJamParticipant
Are most of you willing to ship to P.O. Boxes or do you avoid it? I had to ship an item yesterday for the first time to a P.O. Box and it was about $8 more in shipping costs than it typically would cost me. Is there a setting in eBay to specify that you will not ship to P.O. Boxes?
02/27/2017 at 12:57 pm #13445
If the PO Box is their official eBay address, who would you not ship there? eBay protects you as long as the tracking says confirmed to the address they give you.
And what does it matter if it was $8 more to ship? The buyer pays for that, correct?
Just trying to figure out your concerns.
02/27/2017 at 1:13 pm #13450LoveJamParticipant
No, that’s the thing…I pay for shipping – free shipping. I have two stores and this is on my store where I sell the same 20 or so items over and over…it’s home decor stuff that I get at wholesale. To compete I offer free shipping on all the items in this store, so it kind of stung to have to pay $8 more today. Only reason I can figure is that is it is because it is a P.O. Box, since I have shipped this item to this part of the country before for less.
02/27/2017 at 1:17 pm #13452
Ah. Understood. I assume you get stung on free shipping every so often when the person lives in a weird place. Cheap to mail close to you. Expensive to ship far away.
I dont think you can block someone with a PO box. Its a valid mailing address.
02/27/2017 at 1:44 pm #13458
PO boxes are not more expensive to ship to than any other street address.
02/27/2017 at 5:49 pm #13478SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
Just so you know, there is a way to exclude PO Boxes. If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of a listing (this is the eBay listing tool, not sure what it is called), there is a section called “Exclude shipping locations”. Click on the highlighted words “Create Exclusion List”. That menu has three sections: Domestic, International, Additional Locations. Under Additional Locations, there is one check box for PO Box.
I used this function because eBay’s software wouldn’t allow FedEx Smartpost to ship to PO Boxes, but allowed a person with a PO Box to select it as their shipping method. I got screwed once because I had to pay for priority mail when someone had paid for Smartpost. Later on, Ryanne mentioned on this forum how to get around that bug and use Smartpost to ship to PO Boxes. So, I went back and allowed PO Boxes again.
02/27/2017 at 1:45 pm #13460Matthew@BSTParticipant
- Location: New Jersey
Our Store Week February 20– 26, 2017
Total Items in Store: 259
Items Sold: 5
Cost of Items Sold: $4.00
Total Sales: $1,728.00
Highest Price Sold: $1,475.00
Average Price Sold: $345.60
International Sales: 0
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0.00
Number of items listed this week: 9
Sales Review: Spent VERY little at an auction late last year and bought a massive amount of inventory from a business that was liquidating. I’ve been steadily selling that inventory ever since. Sold a couple of items via FBA as well, but I didn’t add them to my totals. It was only $50 or so.
Customer Issues: None.
Scavenging: I barely scavenge anymore, I have a pretty decent backlog of unlisted inventory that I’m slowly working on. Unless it’s an amazing opportunity, I’ve been working on other projects instead of sourcing inventory. As much as I love eBay, that liquidation auction really flipped a switch in me. While scavenging is a ton of fun, it’s inconsistent. There is no steady stream of like items, whereas with “new” inventory you can always source more. Having said that, I’ve been working hard on a standalone e-commerce site for a new venture. I originally started working on it just to satisfy a branding requirement on Amazon, but the more thought that I gave it the more I felt that this could be the primary site, and I could sell via FBA and eBay as secondary outlets. Over the past few months I’ve been establishing relationships with manufacturers for a few private label products, and I’m also working on my own designs for production. I couldn’t have done any of this without eBay, and regardless of how well the new venture does, I will not stop selling on eBay.
02/27/2017 at 1:48 pm #13461
your highest sale was $1475? what was it? is that a normal sale for you?
02/27/2017 at 1:55 pm #13462
What did you sell for $1,475.00?
I’d love to hear about your adventures in private label items as it unfolds. Of course it sounds like a great way to make steady money. Just curious if constant competition would hinder the pipeline.
02/27/2017 at 2:04 pm #13463Matthew@BSTParticipant
- Location: New Jersey
Hi Ryanne! Yeah, that was a high one! It was a small lot of specialized smoke detectors. I’ve had some big sales from that auction, but that was the largest. I’ve been selling on eBay since November 2014, and I’ve only had $1,000+ sales maybe 6 times. My jaw dropped when I got the notification on my phone…
Jay, I’ll keep you posted, just sent you an email. I know there will be competition, but I’m a little more specialized than most. We’ll see!
02/27/2017 at 3:34 pm #13467Lisa T.Participant
Loved today’s podcast. Just so you know, I have searched ebay using the term “estate find” as a keyword. I also use things like “weird vintage” or “unusual antique.” I do that when I’m trolling for treasures, not looking for anything specific.
02/27/2017 at 3:36 pm #13468
Huh, so many “estate find” means “we’re selling for cheap”!
02/27/2017 at 6:15 pm #13480
In response to the podcast about what you can control:
You can control how much you sell if you pay attention to the supply and demand curve of each item you potentially try to sell. Look at how much of it is listed and how much sold. The ratio of this is what I look at to see the supply/demand. My bottom limit is 1:1 if I’m paying half the retail Goodwill pricing (ex.: 100 sold vs 100 listed). But if you only source the bins, then maybe your bottom limit would be 1:2 or even 1:3 because the stuff is cheaply had. By the way, mathematically a 1:1 ratio on something, priced like the middle-high solds will result in a 1% sell through per day.
So far, my sales are bouncing between $12,000-16,000 a week in 2017 as a one person operation and averaging 260 listings a month or 8.5 listings per day. Can’t wait to add my first employee to bump my listings per month to 500+. You are only limited by how much you can source, not how much you can list.
02/27/2017 at 8:34 pm #13489MyCottageParticipant
I think an interview with Fred would be timely!
02/27/2017 at 9:22 pm #13491retiredtreasures719Participant
- Location: Troy, Ohio
I thought I listed this but I was in a hurry and maybe deleted instead. That’s what happens when I try to multi-task more than two things!
Numbers for the week of 2/19-2/25
Total items in store: 691
Items sold: 15
Total sales: $165.17
Avg. price: $11.01
Money spent on new inv.: $27.65
# of items listed: 14
Highest sale: $29.99 x2 1948 car model kits
It’s been a pretty average week for me. I didn’t get as much listed as I would have liked, but a couple of the things I listed sold right away. The more I listen to the podcast and read the comments, I think control equals our awareness of the market as sellers. I’ve owned a brick & mortar store and it’s much harder to be quickly responsive to trends in that setting. Fixed costs are so high, it’s hard to put $$ into trends which may or may not be profitable. Selling online offers much more flexibility and to me more control.
02/27/2017 at 9:42 pm #13494
Really enjoyed the discussion this week. I am still new at this and just starting to piece together what numbers are important for directing my energies in my store and , of course seeking control.
Just to confirm, when you say ‘sell-through’ rate, are you referring to the ‘sales conversion rate’ listed under the Performance menu? Or something else?
As of now, I am really just trying to pay attention to listing, listing, listing, and then gradually refining a few things around that.
My numbers this week:
Total Items in Store: 335
Items Sold: 11
Cost of Items Sold: $13.00
Total Sales: $313.90
Highest Price Sold: $115 – A small winter landscape painting
Average Price Sold: $28.54
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $3.18
Number of items listed this week: 12
My listings were low this week because I was waiting for eBay to up my limits. I was asked to call back today, and they did indeed raise my limits, so now I have some piles of stuff ready to get listing. I’ll be focusing on doing that this week.
Also, my biggest sale this week was a winter landscape painting I did a few years back. It isn’t really what I consider my style as a painter presently, but I was excited to see there was an audience for this work. That, coupled with all the art talk surrounding last weeks episode has me excited to try a few more pieces.
02/28/2017 at 7:05 am #13514
Yep, sell through is the sales conversion rate. eBay doesn’t do a great job breaking down numbers, but the Performance tab has some info.
02/28/2017 at 9:47 am #13537
Thanks Jay. I”m not much of a stats and data person, but I am slowly starting to pay attention and learn what it all means.
03/03/2017 at 6:35 pm #13745Kelly1mmParticipant
- Location: Maryland
I was looking at the sales conversion rate and what ebay says it is is:
“The number of sales transactions divided by the number of listing page views”
So basically it is a measure quantifying of the potential customers that view your listing, how many actually buy.
The way I think we are all describing sell through rate is a bit different in that it is the number of sales divided buy the total number of listings.
Both SHOULD move in tandem but I do think measure different things but in both higher is better!
02/27/2017 at 9:48 pm #13495ManateejaqParticipant
Feb 19-Feb 25 2017
Total items in store: Etsy 283 // Ebay 218
Items Sold: Etsy 3 // Ebay 9
Cost of items Sold: Etsy $0.75 // Ebay $30.65
Total Sales: Etsy $27.55 // Ebay $155.27
Highest Price Sold: Dr. Martens Boots $55
Average Price Sold: $15.24
Number of items listed this week: 29
The saga of the new homeowners returns. After replacing a whole wall of our basement because of foundation issues, dealing with our well stopping on two different occasions, now our main sewer line has collapsed and they have to dig everything up again. I am starting to wish we were still renters. I don’t make enough on ebay to pay for these issues. All of my inventory, my packing supplies, and photography stations are in the basement, so I’m dealing with some stress and anxiety over just the time and $ to fix the issue. I could probably bring SOME of it upstairs, but there just isn’t the space. The plumbers did a really great job keeping the mess minimal today, so I am really thankful for that. Right now I’m not feeling like I have a whole lot of control. Trying to stay productive, but it has been challenging.
02/28/2017 at 7:05 am #13515
Doing home renovations or repairs is never fun. Just make sure you hire competent people and muscle through it. Once it’s done, you have a place that’s yours.
02/27/2017 at 10:19 pm #13499
Help! I sold this item today: NWT Levi’s 569 Boys Jeans, Loose Straight, Size 18 Reg 29 X 29
But I cannot find it. Does anyone have this item that I can purchase and have sent to my customer?
02/28/2017 at 12:58 am #13507
Total items in store: 350
Items sold: 22
Total sales: $236
Money spent on new items: $80
Sales this week were lousy. :/
Saturday’s auction was a bust. It was the first time I have walked in, said “Nope”, and walked out without even bothering to register for a number. All low quality junky stuff. I hit up some garage sales and thrifts instead. There’s another auction next week, so hopefully that will be better.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Liz.
02/28/2017 at 5:17 am #13512
Any chance you guys will be going to Ebay open in Vegas this year? They have released the dates but no other information. I believe they said it would be July 25-27
02/28/2017 at 7:07 am #13517
We always think about it, but would just need to get excited that it would be worth the time/money. It’s on the other side of the country for us.
02/28/2017 at 7:43 am #13519
is there a link to the ebay open? i can’t find info on it anywhere.
02/28/2017 at 10:12 am #13542
They have only released the dates thus far. They are here..http://community.ebay.com/t5/eBay-for-Business/Our-2017-Game-Plan-for-Seller-Success/ba-p/26582650
02/28/2017 at 9:10 am #13521shortandstoutParticipant
- Location: Central Pennsylvania
Total items in Store: 172/118/10
Total Sales: $150/0/0
Highest item – $60 pair of Cole Haan Military style boots
Avg Sale price:$30
Net Profit for week: $108.28
Spent on new inventory: $41
Items listed: 4/2/0
Okay week for me. Started pulling my COGS together for taxes. We have an appointment with our tax lady tomorrow at 8 PM, so I pushed it off way too long. I’ve already started tracking current COGS better so next year will be easier.
Took some time and organized a bit of stuff. Also got pictures taken of a pile of shirts so they are ready to list when I have a few free minutes here and there.
I’ve been more active with the online auction I frequent. They had a three day auction over the weekend and I go pick my stuff up tonight. Nothing too notable and mostly just bread and butter stuff. I have a few live auctions I’m looking at in the next few weekends, but the house is still a priority so I may not be able to make the time. April is starting to look good for auctions and my go-to auctioneer is liquidating an antiques store in May. He did tell me that another one in April will be good for the things I typically go for. Here is a link to his website if anyone is interested in seeing what kinds of items I have in my area:Gilligan Auctions
02/28/2017 at 9:48 am #13538BrianBParticipant
Jay, Ryanne: I would definitely be interested in hearing an interview with the seller who sells car parts. I don’t buy or sell this stuff, but I have a relative and a friend who rebuild various things that have small engines and they also rebuild cars. I now have an eye into that world and there are lots of opportunities (as you stated) in this area.
02/28/2017 at 9:51 am #13539
If that person contacts us, I also think it’d be a good conversation.
02/28/2017 at 10:08 am #13541
02/28/2017 at 11:51 am #13551
I don’t usually complain about the changes, but really how cynical.
“Why is eBay making these changes?
eBay Top Rated Sellers have told us they want more tools and options to grow their business. The changes we’re making reflect our ongoing investment in helping them do just that and to ensure the best marketplace health and competition.”
They can say that and on the same page reduce the TRS discount by half from 20% to 10%, also while increasing FVF’s.
02/28/2017 at 10:17 am #13544Paulo H LeocadioParticipant
In response to Western Canadian Ian who sells Wedgwood China on eBay: I am passionate about Wedgwood, specially Jasperware. i have even a nice collection of books references to help me listing. I have been buying batches and caches mostly on my local weekly Auction. If you want to brainstorm on listing strategies it would be awesome.
On a bit longer version of my response, I gave up on selling clothes with few exceptions, and also I have concentrated my focus on collectibles since this is the upper level segment I can make work and put aside volume cheap purchases since clearly my skills do not match. The immediate result is higher revenue with less listing and better net income as well.
I started a great 6-month contract that allows me to listen to the podcasts during commute and also some more travel (Wisconsin and Latin America).
As a reminder, I have 3 businesses:
Consulting/Project Technology company where I get most of my income – http://www.zinnia.holdings
A rental house that we decided to sell after 10 years, hopefully we can make it happen fast
Another technology start up that I transformed into my eBay eCommerce – http://www.sculpit.fitness
For this project I am trying not to access Internet for personal matters while at client’s office so I have reduced time to participate in the Forum. Good chances to have a second contract after this one finishes so I am giving that extra mile to be successful.
02/28/2017 at 10:38 am #13546mayberrymom24boysParticipant
- Location: Texas
I’m usually one of those folks chiming in along with everyone else about slow sales, but for some reason, Jan and Feb have been booming for me. Last week was great, and this week is shaping up to be great so far, too. Very pleased. I’ve been listing more death piles, not buying quite as much (but still definitely buying!)
Week of Feb 19 – 25
* Total Items Currently in Store: 550
* Items Sold: 52
* Cost of Items Sold: approximately $110
* Total Sales: $1793.57
* Highest Price Sold: $130 (Finished Cross Stitch. Actually sold 2 of these this week for $120 and $130.)
* Average Price Sold: $34.49
* Returns: 4
02/28/2017 at 10:39 am #13547
Those are incredible numbers for a store of about 500 items. Congrats!
02/28/2017 at 10:54 am #13548mayberrymom24boysParticipant
- Location: Texas
Beverly – Far Out And Fabulous – (love the name)
I shared a story on one of my FB groups a couple weeks ago about my 1 day membership to FindArtInfo.com. It was $5 for 1 day, and it was immensely helpful.
Some of you remember a huge litho I sold by Bernard Buffet. It was called One Man Band. I sold it to a buyer in France with no issues.
A few weeks later, I sold the other one I had by him called Le Dompteur. Here’s my story about what happened and how it turned out (copied and pasted from a post I made in one of my FB eBay groups.)
I found a resource by trial and error that helped me convince a buyer to close a return she had opened, and wanted to share with you all.
I sold a very high value framed / signed lithograph to a buyer in Illinois. The shipping alone was just over $100 via Fedex. A couple weeks after she received it, I got notice that the buyer was requesting a return based on lack of authenticity. I was floored. Of course, that meant I would have to pay return shipping. Ugh!
I was routed to a special department within eBay (specifically for high value items $700 and over), and they told me they no longer arbitrate cases for authenticity. Their stated reason is that if they rule that an item is not authentic, they can’t legally require the buyer to return a fake item. It should be destroyed. So in the past, when eBay ruled something to be a fake, the buyer kept (or destroyed) the item, and the seller had to fully refund and never received the item back. According to new guidelines, however, if the buyer alleges an item is fake and wants a return, eBay forces you to take that return and pay return shipping. No arbitration on authenticity. Just an automatic refund. So if the seller doesn’t convince the buyer of authenticity, the buyer has to fully refund, eBay doesn’t make a determination on authenticity, and buyer has to pay return shipping to get the item back.
Anyhow, my buyer said that the artist’s catalog raisonne stated that this particular series of lithos *always* had signatures on the right side, and the signatures were also *very* elongated. The one I sold was on the left side, and she said the signature didn’t look as elongated as she thought it should.
The first thing I did was to tell the buyer I was sorry she wasn’t 100% satisfied with her purchase and that she had concerns over it being a fake. I told her I would pay for the return shipping, but that I would first like for her to provide a photograph of the publication where she found this information, as the only way for me to gain access to it would be to purchase it, and the only copies I could find were close to $300 (obviously not an option.)
I didn’t hear from her for 3 days. Turns out she was out of town. While I was waiting to hear back, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. I did a google image search for the identical litho. It was a limited edition of 200 copies, which means there weren’t a whole lot of images available online. That led me to a site called FindArtInfo. It’s a membership website, and perhaps there are others just like it, I don’t know. It was exactly what I needed, though. I paid a 24 hour membership fee of $4.95 and found a wealth of information.
Long story short, I found 4 other identical lithos in this series (each with a different # out of 200 than mine) that showed as having been previously sold through 4 different auction houses. Every single one of them had the same signature placement as mine, and the elongation (or lack thereof) of the signature was just like mine, too. I saved 10 images to my computer and uploaded all 10 in the return case correspondence with the buyer. The first 5 photos were 5 different images of the litho (mine first, then the other 4) FindArtInfo had the name of each auction house that sold each litho, with city, state, sale date, and sale price. Then I included 5 more photos of the artist’s signature close up (the one I sold first, followed by 4 nearly identical). I fully explained my research to the buyer, and asked what she had come up with regarding documented information of her claim. She eventually responded and said an “expert” (specializing in this particular artist) told her the signature placement was wrong and the signature was shaped wrong, and said he was citing the catalog raisonne. But he wouldn’t reply to her emails requesting more documentation for his claim.
The buyer decided to close the case (yay!) saying the “expert” never replied to her, and they decided that despite what he previously told her, she wanted to keep the litho anyway.
She never said that she was fully persuaded that it was authentic, but I think the research I did was very compelling, and can’t help but think it helped me convince her it was the real thing.
Anyhow, sorry to make this so very long. I was absolutely thrilled to find that website. I have sold a handful of art pieces, I have several more in my store, and I plan to source more when I find them. Actually, about a month prior, I sold another litho by the same artist to a buyer in France (without incident, a very happy customer, btw.) I’m thinking that website will come in handy for me in the future, and hopefully for any of you that need to do some quick and cheap research for an artist or signature. So happy to find a new resource.
02/28/2017 at 11:39 am #13550
mayberrymom24boys … Thank you so much. Great story and a good lesson, I’m going to save it. FINDARTINFO looks like a very good site for researching art. Without the membership, I am able to see 3 etchings by Cyril Dillon ranging from $99 to to $551. At least I am comfortable with listing this for a few hundred to see what happens. Guess I won’t be buying that beach house in my old home town by making a million on it, but I am confident now that I won’t be seriously underpricing it. ;o) Thanks, and FAR OUT!
02/28/2017 at 11:51 am #13552fishermanParticipant
Your web site has a lot of good information on selling online and I have been following your selling adventures on Ebay for quite a while now. Regarding this weeks topic, while I would agree that it serves no good purpose to endlessly rail and whine about the injustices of the Ebay market place, I would not necessarily dismiss the claims of these sellers as a figment of their imagination.
Ebay says that I am a Power seller with 100 percent positive feedback but, I don’t have an Ebay store subscription, I just use what ever free listing promotions that I get from Ebay and on occasion I will pay for listings if I have some particularly good merchandise. To date my total sales on Ebay number a little 1400 items.
So as sellers what do we get from Ebay? What we get are listing views from potential buyers using Ebays internal search function .
Each listing view is a potential lead which we hope will convert to sale , and your listing is the sales pitch.
Unfortunately not all leads are equally good and it doesn’t matter how good the photos and description in your listing are, if nobody sees it. When you consider that Ebay has over 26 million sellers and a billion listings at any given time, the search results for a common search term such as SMART PHONE could yield thousands of listings.
In practical terms only a small subset of those results will be returned because the conventional wisdom in sales and marketing is that if there are too many choices the buyer may hesitate to buy for fear of making the wrong decision.
For good or bad , I have no doubt that Ebay is constantly tweaking their search algorithms and in the process are picking winners and losers among the Sellers.
In terms of my own personal experience, over the past few years, I having been selling mostly small items on Ebay which I have purchased at estate sales in the Northern Virginia area.
In 2015, it seemed that most of my sales were to buyers west of the Mississippi. When I used Ebays internal search engine Cassini to find pricing of items of local interest such as Redskins Football memorabilia, most of the results delivered by were for sellers outside the Mid-Atlantic region. When I used the same keywords in Google limiting the search to only Ebay pages by using the term , site:ebay.com , I found a number of active listings of nearby sellers of Redskins Football gear that were not shown in Ebays Cassinis search results. If I clicked on these listings through Google and used the same keywords again in Cassini, the new listings would suddenly appear in Ebays search results.
I believe that Ebay had written their search algorithm to try to maximize their revenue from final value fees for shipping by filtering out results where the buyer and seller were nearby . What this meant for me is that I likely I lost sales for items that I had calculated shipping and that I had to lower my prices compensate for the higher shipping costs due to the fact that Ebay was only showing my listings to more distant buyers. My answer to that was to ship flat rate wherever possible.
In 2016 I found that I was getting a number of sales on the East Coast , indicating to me that Ebay stopped the practice of the filtering by distance. However I found that I would have a good volume of sales in the first half of the month and then views on my listings would virtually cease until the start of the next month . What I believe was occuring was the so called throttling where my account had a hidden revenue limit when reached potential listing views were apportioned to some other seller. Of course there are external factors that can limit ones sales on Ebay. Sales were chugging along quite nicely during the summer and into the fall until the Presidential debates in October, when my sales tanked. Consumer sentiment cannot ignored irregardless of whether or not people believe that politics should be discussed in this forum. Most of the items I sold during the Fall were more utilitarian items that could be used day to day such as dishes, replacement parts for appliances, safety razors and the like. The knick knacks and decor items in my inventory still gather dust.
My biggest pet peeve with Ebays filtering of listing results is that many times I have had a flurry of sales only to receive the dreaded TOP TIPS FOR SELLING ON EBAY message which asks that I provide free same day shipping and 30 day returns on my listings. Once received, that message virtually guarantees no sales for the next few days. While I could rework all my listings to comply with Ebays top tips there is no guarantee that doing so will improve their position in Cassinis search results.
I hope that takeaway here is that Ebay search function is a black box to which we are not privy to its inner workings.
It is perfectly feasible for Ebay to change their search algorithms to segment their market place by putting certain buyers and sellers in a given sandbox. Anyone selling on Ebay should understand that it is not a level playing field and it is not a realistic expectation some goverment agency is going to intervene to make it fair.
Sell on Ebay for as long as it it profitable to sell on Ebay and have an exit strategy for when it isn’t. By that I mean don’t invest so much money in inventory and storage costs that if you can’t sell your goods in a timely manner then financial ruin will in ensue.
Also when shopping on Ebay, buyers would be well advised to use an external search engine that scans the Ebay website such as Google or Bing to help ensure that you are finding the best quality product at the best price particularly for higher dollar items.
02/28/2017 at 2:37 pm #13563
I think the fact that sales may drop off in the second half of the month has everything to do with people blowing their paychecks in the first half of the month, and then having an “oh oh, I need to be more responsible!” moment, rather than ebay “throttling” an account. I typically have the opposite experience: my sales are slow the first week of the month, probably because everyone has paid their rent and mortgage. Once that second paycheck hits, sales take off.
I just can’t see ebay paying programmers to write code to limit sales. It’s madness to spend money to limit your income. And if it was the case that there really was code in place to throttle accounts, a disgruntled current or ex-employee would have leaked that information by now. People can’t keep secrets, and that would be a big one.
02/28/2017 at 3:23 pm #13567
You hit the nail on the head. If eBay had code to limit sales the way some sellers imagine, it would be revealed by an angry employee. That kind of revelation could ruin the business and bring class action lawsuits. The simplest answer is usually the most likely: sometimes people don’t want your stuff. It;s a hard truth for any seller to accept.
02/28/2017 at 4:50 pm #13569pythoneskParticipant
- Location: East TN
I agree. I am a programmer and all of the conspiracy theories sound far-fetched to me. Granted I’ve never worked at ebay but I’ve programmed for lots of big companies and I just can’t see them acting like that.
03/02/2017 at 3:14 pm #13696SimonParticipant
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
I agree with pythonesk. I’ve worked in tech for a long time and over the last 10 years I’ve worked for 3 different online eCommerce companies so I always judge conspiracy theories through that lens.
What is eBay’s #1 goal? Presumably it is to make money. Accordingly, they want their search algorithms to show buyers the items that they think are most likely to be purchased. Period.
Their algorithm has to include relevancy (probably as the #1 factor) but there’s likely to be a myriad of other minor factors eg: an item that hasn’t sold in a long time might get a bump down, items from crappy sellers are hopefully bumped down, free shipping might give an item a nudge up. That kind of stuff. Ultimately, eBay just wants to sell the most stuff they can.
Intentionally hiding listings from some sellers makes no sense if those items are likely to sell. In the same way, showing listings from sellers that are further away makes no sense either because higher shipping costs would discourage sales. (The small extra amount in FVF would be vastly overshadowed by the overall lower sales).
That said, eBay probably screws up some times and it wouldn’t surprise me if tweaks to their algorithm sometimes negatively impact certain sellers more than others. I’d put that situation in the bucket of “things I can’t control”.
03/01/2017 at 10:37 am #13623
A lot of people are complaining about the Top Rated Seller discount being cut in half. But remember, with the funds they will get from this they are investing in a wider advertising campaign with going to Nascar, billboards, IheartRadio, NCCA basketball and other means. In the end, it could mean that we all get more sales because of their decision. You know that is their goal to have more people on the site.
03/01/2017 at 3:11 pm #13645TerriParticipant
2/19 – 2/25/17
Approximate # of Items in Store: 200
# of Items Sold: 6
Average Cost of Items Sold: $9.43
Total Sales: $398.14
Highest Price Sold: $200 – Sportcoat
Average Price Sold: $66.36
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed this week: 0
Another week in my continuing between-season saga of disinterest as a part-time clothing seller on Ebay. I don’t live off of my Ebay income, so it’s all good.
Have been involved in getting quotes for having some work done in the house (the dreaded hardwood floor refinishing) and planning a couple of trips.
03/02/2017 at 4:10 pm #13698BarbjParticipant
Thanks for the reminder that I am in charge of my business. Although it is Ebay’s sandbox, I get to choose the toys I play with (ok, maybe a goofy analogy but you get the idea). Thanks for the positive input. It’s much needed, especially after all the negative, the-sky-is-falling stuff from people about the Spring Seller update!
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