07/02/2018 at 8:08 am #44161RyanneKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
The life of a scavenger affords certain mental luxuries, like waking up and thinking “I wonder what I will do/achive/find/sell today”, which isn’t
[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 367: Every Day Could Be Your Day]
07/02/2018 at 8:40 am #44164twizzleParticipant
- Location: Massachusetts
Good morning everyone. Been trying for hours to log into our Godaddy Bookeeping account today through ebay and nothing showing, just a blank page. Anyone else having issues with it. Cheers!
07/02/2018 at 8:56 am #44169
I see our account without issues. Why not just log in through the Godaddy URL itself? https://bookkeeping.godaddy.com/dashboard
07/02/2018 at 8:51 am #44167
Week of 6/24-6/30
Total Items in Store: 2,365 (Up 51% YOY)
Number of Items Listed: 150
Number of Items Sold: 76 (Up 17% YOY)
(Includes 6 Etsy, 0 Bonanza, 0 TrueGether)
Weekly STR: 14% (Down 4% YOY)
Total Product Sales: $2,019 (Up 57% YOY)
Cost of Items Sold: $397
Highest Item Sold: $150 – Chippewa General Utility Copper Caprice Bridgeman Boots
Competition: Highest Priced Sale: Veronica wins the week and Veronica leads for the year 15-11.
# Listed: 1,505
# Sold: 44
# Listed: 265
# Sold: 15
eBay Hard Goods
# Listed: 595
# Sold: 11
Etsy Hard Goods
# Listed: 167
# Sold: 6
Number of Items Listed: 546 – (Destroyed our Record of 477 from April)
Number of Items Sold: 323 (Forecast: 292)
Monthly STR: 16% (Forecast: 13%)
Monthly ASP: $23.85 (Forecast: $21.17)
Total Sales: $7,704 (Forecast: $6,177) – Increase of 13% YOY
Solid week, strong month (for June). Our Total Revenue for June was $9,452, flat to May, but a 39% increase over June 2017 of $6,777. Our plans are working with the increased listing and selling with our photographer. Still light on cash flow as we are spending more on inventory, but shaping up to be a strong Q3 and Q4. Just have to get through July…
Lots of changes started this week. We moved over to ShipRush instead of Shippo since eBay is dropping Shippo. ShipRush is MUCH more robust and better than Shippo, even if it takes more to learn. ShipRush has a lot more features than Shippo that has actually sped up our shipping (and it links with a LOT more sites, including Bonanza). Only downside is that we can’t use our PayPal debit card, so I’m going to get a cash-back card for the business to keep that extra money coming in.
I created our Poshmark account with plans to start cross listing clothing there very soon. So Veronica is taking on all cross listing to Etsy and I will take on all cross listing to Poshmark.
Some of our sourcing has been a little dry recently, so some new strategies are going into place next week (hitting different types at different times on different days).
- This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by T-Satt.
07/02/2018 at 9:00 am #44170
So remind me why you use a 3rd party shipping service instead of just eBay labels? If I remember the reasons were:
–Because you can print a scan sheet easier
–Because its easier to print when you sell on other selling platforms (like the 6 things you sold on Etsy?)
Is this correct?
07/02/2018 at 9:15 am #44171
Yep. Those are the main reasons. It was nice when setting up ShipRush to add Bonanza. I wish that it had TrueGether on there. You can actually add PayPal as a shipment collector, but I’m not sure how that would work.
It is also helpful to know when we ship that all shipments are in one place so that we don’t miss a shipment. In Q4 when we will be doing a lot of shipments (last year we had sales on 4 platforms in one day multiple times) it is nice to have one single place to make sure all shipments are done.
07/02/2018 at 9:38 am #44173
Understood. You currently sell a low percentage of items on platforms other than eBay, so its the expectations that sales on other platforms will rise.
I just ask because it’s always a balance for us to take on more monthly costs. Currently Shiprush seems to be $30/month: https://shiprush.com/purchase
Does that level allow for unlimited labels?
07/02/2018 at 10:03 am #44175
Jay: ShipRush is free through eBay. No cost at all…
07/02/2018 at 2:04 pm #44222
That’s very cool but also weird.
–Why is eBay pushing sellers to use other platforms when they have eBay labels?
–What does ShipRush get out of offering their service for free? Whats the business model?
07/02/2018 at 2:33 pm #44230
I think eBay is just partnering with other businesses to provide free services that they can’t do. I’m glad they have it, as it is better for us, no cost, and solves a big issue for us (a simplified SCAN form).
What does ShipRush get? Probably not much. What you actually get is a Pitney Bowes account (who eBay already partners with on GSP) and ShipRush is the software in the middle. Maybe just exposure to their product for bigger companies that grow and want to keep ShipRush but get a bigger account.
07/02/2018 at 9:32 am #44172
Items in Store 917
Items Sold 5
Total Sales $221.00
Total Profit $201.00
Average profit $40.20
Average sales price $44.20
It was a big week for listing. We listed 60 items this week and I have 25 listings that need photos taken. That’s a huge week for us listing wise. I would like to get to 70 completed listings a week for the rest of summer.
Unfortunately, all that listing activity didn’t result in sales. I went 4.5 days without a sale this week. I have never even come close to that kind of sales gap at any point in my years of selling. Combine that with all of the issues ebay is having and I became extremely stressed out – questioning the entirety of my ebay business.
My scavenge of the week actually was scavenged last weekend, but its true value wasn’t discovered until yesterday. I bought a Sirius boombox that had the receiver as well for $2 at a yard sale. I’ve sold a Sirius boombox in the past and the receiver was just a bonus. This weekend I found an AC adapter and tested it out. To my surprise it picked up ALL the Sirius channels! This led me down the rabbit hole of “lifetime Sirius accounts”. This is an older receiver that sat in this persons garage for years. For now I’ll just keep this boombox in my ebay room to listen to for a month or two just to make sure it is indeed a lifetime unit. It should sell for $300…if I even sell it. I May just keep it as a permanent resident of the ebay room. Lol!
07/02/2018 at 12:13 pm #44198
After last week, I feel the same as you Retro on questioning the entire ebay biz. If we want to stay in there not sure what we can do except try to adapt and figure out what will work going forward.
07/02/2018 at 1:30 pm #44211
All I can do at this point is put my head down and soldier on. I have goals to meet this summer listing-wise and I am a few weeks behind schedule. Just keep swimming…
07/02/2018 at 11:05 pm #44266Anonymous
We got Netflix free for 2 years from a thrift store Blu-ray player that was signed into an active account, though I didn’t know it when bought.
07/05/2018 at 8:25 am #44506
I can see the arguments now at the home of the actual account holder:
“Honey I SWEAR I didn’t watch Hot Girls from Planet X! I don’t know how it got into our viewing history.”
07/05/2018 at 8:39 pm #44543Anonymous
It was kind of like that. The device was registered under a girl’s name, and she’d have all these tween movies in her history, while we’d be watching Breaking Bad and such. Once in a while they’d purge our watch later list. What, you didn’t want to watch A Clockwork Orange little girl?
07/02/2018 at 10:04 am #44176
Pretty quiet, but acceptable, week of sales for me.
Sales: CAD$604, 5 items, COGS: $88 –> Item profit: $414
Expenditures: $319 –> After-tax cashflow: $75
Listed: $995, 7 items
Hours: 6, $13/hr
Notable sales: receipt printers lot of 5, $300; security cameras lot of 5, $200.
Scavenging: only big scavenge was a drill bit sharpener for $115, should bring around $1000. My other expenses were for shipping/packing and storage materials, which I stocked up on this week.
Through my day job, as of Thursday next week I am being seconded to a small town about 45 minutes farther away from my house than my current job, which kind of sucks. It’s only for a few months but it means a 2.5-3 hr round trip commute every day. I am expecting my scavenging to suffer somewhat due to less free time, but I agreed to it because I want to get some contacts at this other company, and because a new skill set is being offered.
07/02/2018 at 10:12 am #44177MattParticipant
Regarding that sold item redirect “feature”…I wrote a tiny Chrome web extension that bypasses it. It’s a work in progress but it works and it’s published in the Chrome web store. It’s called the “ebay sold flux capacitor”. The only thing it does is change the hyperlinks on the sold results page so they point to the actual sold listings (rather than a similar active listing).
07/02/2018 at 10:39 am #44180ebaymomParticipant
- Location: Ohio
My Store Week June 24-30, 2018
Total Items in Store: 1042
Items Sold: 9
Cost of Items Sold: $25.53
Total Sales: $232.45
Highest Price Sold: $70 (muddy distressed cowboy boots)
Average Price Sold: $25.83
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $57
Number of items listed this week: 31
It has been a very long time since posting my numbers – I had baby #5 in December (now 7 months old!) and went through an extremely rough pregnancy (bedridden with constant nausea 24 hours a day for months on end – so needless to say my eBay business came to a grinding halt. It was an extreme effort just to pack what I sold. I listed nothing for 9 months. Somehow, I was able to continue making relatively steady income through this time.) Now I am feeling a million times better and back at it – as best as I can with my little kids always around 🙂 This week was a very slow week for sales – I recently hit 1000 listings and am looking forward to growing and also purging my store from all the low dollar mistakes I bought when I started a few years ago.
07/02/2018 at 10:47 am #44183jamieParticipant
Hello. I can relate to the first gentleman that called in. I was selling similar everyday 10 days and running sales every 2-3 days. So this is no longer being able to run a sale for 14 days has effected me. My last sale ended 6/25. I’ve been using the promotion order discount but have had 3 sales since using that. June last year was one of my best months. This year I’m down 40% down from last year.
07/02/2018 at 10:57 am #44187
The change to the sale frustrates me, because I don’t know what “problem” they are fixing.
All retail outlets run sales. Sales are proven to work, otherwise, retailers wouldn’t use them. Just like the $19.99 vs $20 pricing structure. If it didn’t work, retailers wouldn’t continue to use it.
We usually only run sales when things are slow to boost interest, and it has always worked. We don’t do it a lot, but the frustrating part is that they add a restriction to something that isn’t needed.
If sales work, and more people buy, then that would be more FVF to eBay. How is this a good change for either us or them?
I’m really surprised that the larger sellers on eBay (the REALLY big boys) are accepting this.
Rather than tinkering with things that work…how’s about we fix the things that are busted?
My two cents. Off the soapbox. Rant over.
07/02/2018 at 12:03 pm #44196
Completely agree with you T-Satt. Sales are part of the retail world simply for the reason that they work, so why would you want to limit your stores(us the sellers) how often you can do them.
07/02/2018 at 11:11 am #44190ChristineRParticipant
- Location: Southern California
Total Items in Store: 400
Items Sold: 10
Cost of Items Sold: $106 + $6 Free shipping
Total Sales: $458
Highest Price Sold: Best offer $140 (Awesome vintage tapestry Paid $40 half price day at estate sale around the corner from my house)
Average Price Sold: $37.21
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed on Ebay this week: 9
Number of items listed on Mercari this week: 15 (no sales yet, just switched to free shipping – Mercari says you are twice as likely to sell, but this filter is at the bottom)
So, good week on Ebay for me. I even had a buyer purchase multiple different items from my store (rare but I put this language in my listing).
I am trying an experiment on Mercari by listing my daughter’s clothes, which I got for free as hand me downs. I REALLY, REALLY love how streamlined and transparent Mercari is compared to Ebay and I can list about 3-4 times as fast from the seller app so that’s huge for me. I did this because I heard that Mercari is “crushing it” on Google Shopping and confirmed this by running some test searches. But I’m a bit cautious about Mercari and will avoid putting higher priced items on it. There are some poor reviews about account closures with $ in them and pretty much you can’t get customer service as a seller without great patience and effort. I also see that the solds are more pop culture, popular clothing brands, video games, etc. Sold item prices seem to run on the lower end. Also, in April they apparently lost their awesome deal with USPS, though they still have a pretty good one for heavier packages with FedEx. Some cool vintage stuff has sold for cheap, so I bet other resellers are hawking it. It is easy to see which of your items are getting views and likes and the views are certainly much lower than Ebay. Stay tuned. 🙂
I’m a perma-sale believer and I am disappointed like the shoe caller. I did notice a boost pattern with running a weekly sale. Perhaps dropping my prices back down 15-20% will result in sales though and I can understand Ebay wanting to make this change and get to the seller’s bottom line. I can’t decide yet if I’ll drop prices down or run a sale every 15 days.
Have a great week!
07/02/2018 at 11:46 am #44194SimonParticipant
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Thanks for the podcast….
Here are my numbers for the week:
Total Items in Store: 2388
Items Sold: 40
Total Sales: $837
Cost of Items Sold: $95
Average Price Sold: $20.93
Average Cost of Item: $2.38
Highest Price Item Sold: $79.95 TP-LINK Portable Battery Powered 3G/4G Wireless N Router
Number of items listed this week: 69
YTD Sales: $21869
YTD sales compared to this time last year: +19%
Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 323
Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 219
Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 127
Sell-through rate (for the week): 1.68%
# of Hats Sold: 35 (87% of sales)
This week I bought a whole tub of vintage Breyer horses for $30. It’s something that’s well outside my normal area but I enjoy researching collections and collectibles so I spent severalhours on the weekend reading up on Breyer horse identification and matching up my horses with what I could find online. (I didn’t find any hundred dollar horses but I should easily make multiples of my investment).
Just an observation, it was a pretty anti-ebay show today. I hope eBay is getting the message from various channels at the moment. They need to switch the focus back to sellers. Between the intentional changes and the bugs, we’ve being beaten up recently.
Speaking of which, has anyone heard anything official from eBay to say that they are not going to restore our lost photos? I’d like to know if I’m supposed to be rephotographing those items.
Hope everyone has a good week!
07/02/2018 at 1:36 pm #44212ChristineRParticipant
- Location: Southern California
Simon, please let me know how it goes with the Breyer horses. Among the piles are my own from the 70s. I’m not sure how much condition matters but they were played with. My daughter had no interest so they will get listed eventually. Did you find that good site http://www.identifyyourbreyer.com/
07/02/2018 at 6:27 pm #44261SimonParticipant
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Thanks @ChristineR. Yes, that was the site I was using. It worked out pretty well. I was able to determine the main model fairly easily though the sub-variations (eg: different colors, accessories etc) can get tricky as they dont have photos for everything. I’ll put up a bunch of listings this week and see how they go and I’ll do the rest of them another time.
For anyone that’s not sure how to identify a Breyer horse, look on the inside rear leg. There’s normally a mark there of some kind. eg: a circular copyright or “USA” or both. That was all I needed to see to buy the tub that I have.
07/02/2018 at 2:09 pm #44223
We certainly dont want to be negative but its tough to be positive when the seller experience is poor. Good news is that there are no problems for the buyers as far as I can tell. Its just all on the seller side.
We didnt lose any photos, so not sure if eBay will restore them. I wouldnt hold my breath.
07/02/2018 at 11:57 am #44195
Total Items in Store: 1575
Items Sold: 16
Cost of Items Sold: $53.45
Total Sales: $378.55
Highest Price Sold: $47 (parka)
Average Price Sold: $23.66
Returns: 1 (pair of shoes) $50
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $98.82
Number of items listed this week: 26
Enjoyed the podcast. Definitely a down week for me and hard not to believe it was due to losing the ability to do the frequent promo sales. I agree they are a bit of a gimmick and was actually reluctant to use them at first but my sales went up once I did. My guess is that there are a lot of buyers out there who also like promos and they get it that it is a game but it is one they like to play as well. So for the past 6-8 months I have been a heavy promo user. Now I need to rethink the whole game.
Happy 4th week everyone.
07/02/2018 at 12:36 pm #44202
I’m late to the party, and it may have been discussed in last week’s forum, but was that glitch of auto relisting without photos solved? I need to dig in and check my listings.
Week May 24-30, 2018
Total Items in Store: 914
Items Sold: 7 (1 Amazon)
Cost of Items Sold: $51 (20.0% of sales)
Total Sales: $255.48
Highest Price Sold: $63 (Pearl Jam Amsterdam concert poster https://www.ebay.com/itm/202338266517)
Average Price Sold: $36.50
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $360
Number of items listed this week: 22
Promoted listings test: 2 sales, $105 (41.1% of total sales), $6.87 fees (6.5% of sales)
Another low week, but I had $450 in sales on Sunday 7/1 so things will be looking up for this week. Staying positive, plugging ahead.
Some really great picks this week, including some import Beatles/Springsteen/Robert Plant bootleg LPs (https://ebay.to/2z9Xrqa). Already sold 2 within hours of listing which covered my complete investment in them. Also got this killer Harley Davidson patch for a couple bucks that I was excited about (https://www.ebay.com/itm/202355797483).
07/02/2018 at 12:50 pm #44205pythoneskParticipant
- Location: East TN
Sad to hear of all these scams that sellers are experiencing. (Jay & Ryanne – it’s some sort of miracle that you haven’t experienced one of these yet. I hope you never do.) I agree that the answer is to fight and make a stink! I’m the one who sold that $250 Bosch dryer part and had a different (non-working) one returned to me. All the details are in the customer issues forum. At the time I made a huge stink, including filing a report with mail fraud, and eventually ebay did make me whole. Yes, there was a lot of angst involved. Not sure if this will work anymore since it sounds like ebay is changing a lot of rules lately.
07/02/2018 at 2:14 pm #44224
We are glad we’ve never been scammed, but I just have a feeling its relatively rare.
I remember you’re issue with the Bosch part. Is that the only time you’ve been outright scammed selling on eBay?
07/02/2018 at 1:40 pm #44213
Total Items in Store: 65 listings, 102 quantity
Items Sold: 7
Cost of Items Sold: $57
Total Sales: $153
Highest Price Sold: $30 x 2
Average Price Sold: $22
Travel for work is done for the foreseeable future, so we’re back to building up our store. Goal is to list 500 items by the start of the Christmas season (Sept/Oct-ish). Not to have 500 things in our store, because I’m hoping some will sell in that time frame.
We had a higher than usual COGS this week because we sold off some Disneyland pins we had purchased, and decided we have no reason to collect, that were $18 ea after tax. We were able to sell them for $25, $30, and $30, so no harm.
07/02/2018 at 1:42 pm #44215Yorkshireman TomParticipant
After last week’s picture-pocalypse I signed up with inkFrog, purely to have my listings backed up off of eBay. I have no experience with using it as a listing tool but it seems great for syncing with your store.
I believe Auctiva is similar to inkFrog (although looks way more dated in its style).
07/02/2018 at 2:35 pm #44232
I’ve had inkfrog attached to my ebay store forever. It is free for 10 managed listings, but it does import a ton of ebay listing and solds data.
The listing form in Inkfrog is quite long – lots of scrolling. I don’t really like it.
I signed up for Sixbit but I am not a fan. Had some hiccups in the syncing process and I haven’t had any desire to sit down and try to resolve it so I’ll probably just cancel my trial.
07/02/2018 at 2:24 pm #44226
I like the, “We’re now doing it because we’re just good students in class”, comment!!
I enjoy the adrenaline pump of getting up early and shipping before my regular job, it has to get done, no procrastination! It’s also a hoot to hole up in the garage with an excuse to listen to Misfits, Bad Brains, and others while packing several boxes for shipment the next day, crazy prosperity! Even on Etsy, I have 1-2 day handling yet 90% of my stuff goes out 1 day. It’s just good customer service unless your melting down, so then, what’s the sense if you’re toast! So, we shall see what the Holidays bring as I’m beefing up both stores and still work at least 40 at the regular job.
As for free returns, nope, just isn’t right, something fundamentally wrong there, perhaps when the whole big thing completes its turn I’ll jump on board but not now.
My feeling currently is, more buyers will look for and shop the Guaranteed 3 day, the TRS badge does matter, even without the plus. And I agree, 10% is a weak incentive, although I am watching and listening to others. The kind of buyers who shop for Free returns are not necessarily the ideal buyers I want to sell to, not with my bric a brac, old toys and yesterday items.
Next post Da Nummmbers…
07/02/2018 at 2:35 pm #44233
Whoa, I got a mention 😀 Thanks!
Last week was supposed to be my week off from sourcing due to seasonally low sales, too much unlisted backstock and overall burn out. Well, you know how things go. After a combination of good thrift store runs and a large private collection purchased, I spent around $1k on stock. After complaining about lackluster buys over the past few months, I stumbled into a few good ones. Neat. Now, I am off from sourcing for the month! Hah!
I am so happy that it worked out that way. With this nasty heat wave sticking around, I’d rather be working in my office than going from place to place in 90*+ heat. It also gives me a LOT of time to do non-ebay related tasks, like have fun and not think about work for a large portion of time. Yesssss.
Still, I have boxes upon boxes of unlisted stock to go through as well. My husband used the dreaded h word (hoarder) to get me to stop buying in excess off Ebay in addition to us buying in our local area. First, he said I had so much unlisted stock that I would not be able to get it all listed in my lifetime. Then, he narrowed it down to 2 years of listing. Now, I am treating it like a contest to get it all listed much quicker than that, and to reap the “rewards” of my squirreling away of inventory for the past several years.
I have gone over 1 month without buying extra inventory off of Ebay, and am already starting to notice results. Items are selling, space is freeing up, I am filling it with more listed or unlisted to keep the process flowing. It will be a good opportunity to save and to worry less about acquiring for the first time in years. I am up for the challenge.
07/02/2018 at 2:37 pm #44235
6/24 – 6/30/18
eBay store totommyto
Total store items: 566
Number of items sold: 10
eBay sales (not counting s/h): $623
Cost of items sold: $36.50
Consignment payouts: 0
Highest price paid: $190 – obscure plastic SWAT van toy (research!)
Average price sold: $56.60
Money spent on new inventory: $50 (back to routine scavenging)
Numbers of items listed this week: 37
Etsy store Oldfleatoymarket
Total store items: 527
Number of items sold: 4
Etsy sales (not counting s/h): $85
Cost of items sold: $8
Consignment payouts: 0
Highest price sold: $30 – vintage Korea made horse bit
Average price sold: $21.25
Money spent on new inventory: $30
Number of items listed this week: 31
- This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by totommyto.
07/02/2018 at 2:38 pm #44237ThriftShiftParticipant
- Location: Cabarete, Dominican Republic
June 25-July 1
Ebay items in store: 849
Items sold: 27
Total sales: $1,394.20
Consignment payout: $574
$1,148.00 was consignment sales of antique tools for an acquaintance; I don’t seek out consignees but she heard about my store from another friend for whom I sold furniture when she moved to Japan. I had 90+ listings for the new client of individual machinist parts and Woodworking items. $574 goes to the owner of those tools for this past week; I took 50% of her items sales. I have another 70 listings for her still and watchers on many of the items.
Highest sale was $580 for a wooden toolbox “Gerstner”. Several tools fit into nested holes in it, but I removed the rest and are selling them too. I also liked my $22 sale of an IBM coffee mug and software lot sales of $48 and $25.
So my share of sales is $820.20; I received $574 from the consignment work. I don’t have a Cost of Goods for the consignment items of course; for my other items the COGs were $25. So I made $820.20 with a COG cost of $25. And I have learned a ton about antique tools. Now they are all listed, my time was well spent, and I hope more sell this week. You can view the listings in Sold or Active by typing in my client’s code “SAZ” in the Collectible Tools category of eBay.
07/02/2018 at 3:03 pm #44242
One good thing about consignment is it forces you to learn about other areas and categories. I’ve dropped all but one consignment relationship, and the one I still have is now very specialized.
Because of consignment, when I go scavenging, there is much more out there I am knowledgable enough about to purchase for profit now. It was a stepping stone, and a practical one for a scavenger with a full time job. I’m thankful for the sales, but no more except for the one! I have Jay to thank. When you see your numbers you wake up and see that it just does not make good money sense.
07/02/2018 at 3:24 pm #44244
Totommyto said: “As for free returns, nope, just isn’t right, something fundamentally wrong there, perhaps when the whole big thing completes its turn I’ll jump on board but not now. My feeling currently is, more buyers will look for and shop the Guaranteed 3 day, the TRS badge does matter, even without the plus. And I agree, 10% is a weak incentive”
You hit the nail on the head. This free returns thing shouldn’t be an emotional stressful topic that it’s become. eBay isn’t requiring it to be in good standing or TRS. They’re offering 10% off final value fees for every item sellers offer Free Returns on. If the cost outweighs the 10% fee discount for those items, then don’t do it. Should be a mathematical solution for each of us.
07/02/2018 at 4:05 pm #44245
J&R, obviously it’s your business but my impression is you’re jumping through a lot of hoops for top rated seller, when IMHO your target demographic buying like, vintage teak jello spoons for $75, doesn’t give a hoot about fast shipping, as long as it’s reasonable. 😉
07/02/2018 at 4:10 pm #44247RyanneKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
yes we are starting to agree with this perspective. started when they degraded the discount from 20% to 10%, it was like, hm, what is the point. throw in free returns and you’ve got the TRS Plus killer.
07/02/2018 at 4:12 pm #44248
True. The only thing we can control is how well we run our business, so we just try to do the best we can with quick shipping etc. But as Ryanne said, we’re always willing to rethink things.
07/02/2018 at 4:14 pm #44249
I would agree. For you guys, it really doesn’t make sense.
For us, it makes sense and isn’t hurting us at all. Still sub 2% returns (please, I hope I didn’t jinx that…)
Funny, as the one question of “are our sales higher because of it”? Maybe. Best June so far, and the STR was stronger than I predicted.
Proving a something against a nothing is not easy. I can’t truly A/B test unless I have two stores with the duplicated listings and compare the STR to each other…
07/02/2018 at 5:11 pm #44254
If you’re not getting returns that bother you, then Free Returns can only help. Since you sell so any clothes, that’s pretty amazing to have such a low return rate.
07/02/2018 at 5:59 pm #44258
Thanks. Only thing that has bugged me lately…more INAD for non-INAD reasons.
Latest was for the shirt being shorter than he wanted. We accepted the return and paid for the label yesterday, then today asked him for more info:
Did he see the measurements in the Item Description?
Did he use that to evaluate the shirt for fit?
Did the measurements on the length not match the Item Description?
Whay INAD vs Did not fit?
I did a professional writeup to ask these, and I’m going to open more dialogue with buyers on these to understand what is being used or not used in buying decisions as well as how they use the Return process. I think it would help to get more buyer perspective rather than guessing what they are thinking (or what we want them to think).
07/02/2018 at 6:13 pm #44260
I’ll be interested to see if buyers give valuable info. My cynical side assumes clothing buyers often choose the selection that gives them all their money back, especially if there are no consequences.
07/02/2018 at 4:35 pm #44251SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
I just came back from vacation and listened to last week’s and this week’s podcasts. I spent a good bit of today packing and shipping and then doing my numbers. Maybe I should have just stuck to shipping.
Week of June 24- 30
* Total Items in Store: 1195
* Items Sold: 13
* Cost of Items Sold: $19.56 + $21.70 Commission
* Total Sales: $224.95
* Highest Price Sold: $30 Black Patent Leather Ecco Sandals (on commission), $25 vintage Realistic Cassette Player
* Average Price Sold: $17.30
* Returns: 0
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
* Number of items listed this week: 0
07/02/2018 at 5:46 pm #44257bcfol440Participant
June Monthly Report (June 1-30):
Sold: 44 items (!) ebay + 4 on Poshmark = 48
Items in Store: 450 ebay
Welp, a rough June for me but better than May. Posh helped pull in the rear of month with $150 bonus in a quick turn.
I have been laid off my steady salaried job, so I’ve had more time to list, cross-post and hit some daytime estate sales.
Ryanne: Weirdly, I ALSo found 2 West Elm wool pillowcases with tags at the thrift this week! Really want to keep them, but… 🙂
07/02/2018 at 6:09 pm #44259Steven SParticipant
- Location: South Dakota
June numbers were not helped by a super slow last week, $330.
June 2018 $3588
Items listed in store 845
Sold 63 eBay 62 Bonanza 1
Gross sales eBay $3568 Bonanza $20
Highest sale $450 Marantz Amplifier
I had one of those ‘Days’ for a good find.
I was on my way back from picking up another cone shaped fireplace someone in Nebraska was selling for $20 and I popped into a thrift store in a small Nebraska town. They had just received a donation of trucker hats, 2 big boxes, $2.00 each.
I went through all of them but could only find 5 I was comfortable with getting at least $20 out of. I got them down to $8 for all five.
When I started listing them, most had solds in the 20-25 range but mine appeared unworn so I priced them at $30.
But there was one, it was red white and blue with a patch that read 76 Beef Revolution that had only 1 sold for $105. I priced mine at $110, hopefully a quick sale.
07/02/2018 at 10:30 pm #44264SilverFoxFindsParticipant
- Location: Virginia Beach
Re commission sales: Agreed that commission sales can provide a lot of good knowledge you can then use in future sourcing. Good to weigh the work involved, knowledge gained, and income to be earned (vs lost).
Little uptick in sales and $ this past week, which has turned back southward this holiday week:
06/24/18 – 06/30/18
Total Items In Store: 887
Items Sold: 24
Total Sales: $757.63
Cost of Items Sold: $39.45 (includes a few commission sales, a few of my own items, and some gifted freebies)
Highest Price Sold: $170 – Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Digital Camera (commission sale, included shipping); $90 – NIB Ikea Kivik Single Chair Cover Islunda Gray
Average Price Sold: $31.57
Returns/Refunds: 1, hat for sizing (and it was a snapback…)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $2
Number of Items listed this week: 33
07/03/2018 at 5:47 am #44271
Posting my monthly numbers for June. I’ve converted from GBP to USD.
Fairly slow sales, but hey, it’s June. We’re having a heatwave in the UK, and we’re in the grip of football world cup fever. Not a sports fan, so staying out of the heat and listing away…
Total items in store: Etsy 863 Ebay 35
Total sold: Etsy 23 Ebay 3 (9 international)
Total sales: Etsy $915 Ebay $107
Highest price sold: $198 vintage snow shoes (paid $6.60)
Average selling price: Etsy $40 Ebay $35
Money spent on new inventory: $232
New items listed: 180
07/03/2018 at 8:15 am #44277
Thanks for sharing. I think you’re one of the fe people here who sell almost exclusively on Etsy so it’s great to see those numbers. Any reason why you sell mainly on Etsy?
07/03/2018 at 8:36 am #44278
The main reason is because I enjoy it!
I started on Etsy (in 2014) and it’s been a very positive experience. I like the look of Etsy – no annoying pop up adverts – and I find it very easy to list. Ebay feels clunky to me. Low fees and no store fee. Friendly and motivated buyers. I know I can get more money for my stuff on Etsy than I would get on Ebay. The (non handmade) buyers there are all looking specifically for vintage. I rarely get asked to give a discount. I have a lot of fun buying, researching, photographing and selling cool stuff!
The shop is smallish now, but my aim is to build it up so so I’m one of the main UK vintage Etsy sellers. Bigish fish in a smallish pond.
07/03/2018 at 8:53 am #44280
Those are good reasons to sell on Etsy. Especially the one where you say you enjoy it.
–Are you mainly selling the weird, vintage stuff that many of sell on eBay?
–Do you sell clothes?
–What percentage f your buyers are in the US vs UK?
07/03/2018 at 9:22 am #44282
Yep, I sell vintage and antique books, kitchenalia, flatware, ceramics, toys and games, tins, fabric, glassware, typewriters, mirrors, brassware, bags, tools, rugs etc.
Very few clothes – I’m just not interested in clothes and it’s hard to make a good profit. Although we did pick up a fabulous orange cotton ventile sixties anorak recently. It’s on Ebay item number 253725681556. Hopefully it will sell near the asking price.
It’s around 60% UK buyers, 30% USA and the rest Europe and Australia/NZ.
The shop is at http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DigVintageStuff
07/03/2018 at 9:35 am #44284
When we were in the UK, the charity shops are much smaller and more expensive than US counterparts (which are often the size of large supermarkets and sell by the bagfuls).
Also, I couldnt really find any auctions that where a person’s possessions, not just fancy art and antiques, were being sold off.
Plus, it doesn’t seem common/proper for people to hold yard sales in front of their homes on weekends.
So where do you scavenge? Carboot sales?
07/03/2018 at 10:06 am #44291
DigVintageStuff nice job on Etsy. I took a look at a few items in your store and noticed you use a good number of one word tags. You’re obviously doing quite well regardless. Do you pay much attention to best practices for Etsy SEO? Are you active on the forums? How long have you been selling on Etsy?
07/03/2018 at 10:22 am #44293
No – I didn’t know one word tags were bad!! Tell me more!
I opened the store in 2014, but it’s only been more than 100 items for about a year and a half.
I don’t use the forums at all. Are they useful?
07/03/2018 at 10:26 am #44295
DigVintage: Well done! Very impressive numbers on Etsy. We are slowly moving into that space, but you are really well established. Love your stuff!
07/03/2018 at 11:23 am #44310
I’d love these numbers to be my weekly rather than monthly totals.
Back to listing…
07/03/2018 at 11:32 am #44311
DigVintage: I hear you, but I think that it comes with the territory of Vintage Hard Goods.
With 23 Etsy Sales on 863 items, that is a 2.67% Monthly STR. Most people that post here that are heavy on Hard Goods are in roughly that realm (low to mid single digit STR). Given that Etsy has a lower audience, you are still doing well.
If you will notice on our side…our Etsy has gone weeks without sales before. We are only in the upper 100’s in inventory, but it is still slow. Last week was stronger, and another sale yesterday, but slower. This is why we cross-post, to get the listing in front of different buyers.
Do you see a large increase in sales in Q4? That has been our trend in Hard Goods (and why we are trying now to bulk up our Hard Goods before Q4).
07/03/2018 at 12:49 pm #44319
Yes, definitely lots more sales in Q4. Last year Oct and Nov sales were double these figures for June with a much smaller store (it was around 350 items).
This year, since January I’ve been averaging 1.5 sales per day. June is slow!
I’m working hard to ramp up the the numbers of items over the summer.
07/03/2018 at 12:52 pm #44320
Excellent! I’ll bet you will be a busy shipping bee this Q4!
07/03/2018 at 9:55 pm #44375
I’ve learned quite a bit in the forums especially in the discussion portion. There are both useful threads and those that are a waste of time with people just complaining. Same as ebay.
I copied this from the etsy seller handbook
“Maximize your tags. Plug in your list of keywords and phrases and use all available tags. Each one is another opportunity to find your shopper. To get the most out of your tags, use phrases (“dining room table”) instead of single words (“dining,” “room,” and “table”).”
And don’t worry about repeating yourself in tags. It isn’t considered keyword spamming.
07/03/2018 at 9:54 am #44289Anonymous
Math nerd time!
Someone’s probably made this point, but for years Jay has spoken of the perplexing failure of your (and most people’s) store to achieve “exponential” sales growth. In fact you have failed to achieve linear sales growth. In fact you have achieved exponential growth–but the exponent is something like 4/5.
All things being equal, one would expect your sell-through rate to remain constant regardless of inventory size–inventory doubles, items sold doubles–that’s linear growth. But, indeed, as has been well hashed on the forum, eBay STRs seem to fall over time for one or more of the many reasons proposed over the years. (Have you guys ever charted your STR over the years you’ve kept data?)
And as you guys bring your 2nd store experiment to a close, it’s worth remembering that the original justification for store 2 was a test of the hypothesis that STR was greater at lower inventory count, and the question was: could you have two stores with 0.5X items and achieve a higher STR than a single store with 1.0X items?
Clearly that didn’t prove to be the case, but are there any other conclusions you can draw from the experiment?
BTW, when I say you “failed,” I don’t mean to imply any inadequacy on y’alls’ part; you guys kick major butt, and if anybody could achieve maximum results from eBay, you could. That’s a strong argument that something’s going on at eBay that explains your results.
07/03/2018 at 10:41 am #44298
You are absolutely correct. We’re talking about linear growth.
Although I like numbers, I’m honestly not very good at collecting and translating them beyond the simple sales numbers that eBay provides. I believe Tsatt is a full on accounting guy so imports his numbers into spreadsheets so he can create historical graphs.
For me, I don’t see any of the conspiracies or tricks really push the needle one way or the other. As Almasty said last week, our future sales reflect what we are scavenging and listing now. This year, we’ve cut down on scavenging because of other projects. What we have found is bread and butter ($30 value) items. So our sales over the next 12 months will reflect that value.
07/03/2018 at 11:05 am #44303
Luftmentsh: Good points on STR and the 2nd store experiment.
You made me think to reexamine our STR history by month. The chart of the monthly STR for our store is below.
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
2015 35% 54% 25% 33% 28% 24% 12% 28% 36% 29% 32% 19%
2016 19% 25% 18% 12% 17% 14% 10% 10% 20% 16% 19% 21%
2017 17% 20% 23% 22% 20% 17% 14% 20% 18% 17% 21% 21%
2018 16% 14% 17% 18% 16% 16%
When we started in 2015 we had 331 items in Inventory, and ended at 857. I would bet that since we had low inventory and I was still working full time (I started full time in April 2015) that I was only cherry picking the absolutely best items. Then as we go full time, we pick up more items that are long tail (by nature or less desirable commodity items), which stretches out the STR. There are also bad buys, bad pricing, etc. that goes on while you grow inventory and as there are more items to review, these misses are harder to identify.
Now that we are about to cross 2,400 items, those issues are bigger, and more important for us to have a process to review.
07/03/2018 at 11:22 am #44309
07/03/2018 at 11:51 am #44314
Much easier to read. I think anyone’s store who has grown from a couple hundred items to over 2000 will see their Sell Through Rate drop because often we all list multiples of the same item.
As we’ve all said. There’s a market for one Polo shirt. But if we then list 20 Polo shirts, we’re creating our own competition.
Problems I see with not selling quickly:
If you dont have storage problems and listing fees are minimal with a store subscription, is a low STR rate really concerning if you think you have quality items listed well?
07/03/2018 at 1:33 pm #44323
Also have to consider that linear growth is almost impossible to achieve. If you list 10 items and sell 5, you can’t expect to sell 10 if you list 20 – you’ll prob sell 9 if you list 20; you’re still selling “more” but not 100% more. As investment increases, the returns curve gets less steep, but continues to increase.
It’s a diminishing/marginal returns curve, and as long as you prepare for that, you can achieve success. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you’re expecting that straight, linear return.
This applies to retail, investments, and more:
07/03/2018 at 1:50 pm #44326
Brian: Thanks for the links. I have some downtime around lunch, I will have to study that more.
I always get the concept, but never can explain why. It always occurs in all areas. Like Pareto’s Law, it is everywhere, and you can’t escape it.
I’ll have to study it more to understand the math.
This is why I put some degradation in my forecast STR numbers for future months.
07/03/2018 at 2:17 pm #44330
You can study it for your whole life and never master it. Big businesses (re: Amazon, Target, Wal Mart) try to cheat it with sales and promos, to get that extra 0.01% above and beyond projections.
07/03/2018 at 5:58 pm #44349
Brian, know we’re getting into the weeds, but just to be clear, there is no diminishing marginal return to LISTING that I am aware of. Putting one additional listing into a 1 item store is exactly as valuable on average as putting one more listing into a 10,000 item store.
The phenomenon is just the non-linear growth of monthly sales with *inventory size*, which is quite different. Really, the phenomenon is just that you’ve already *got* most of your returns out of the inventory of yesteryear.
Maybe I’m being pedantic here but just want to stress, there is nothing diminishing about the return on work that you put into reselling.
07/03/2018 at 10:47 pm #44381Anonymous
Yeah, I agree with simplicio, you shouldn’t experience diminishing returns from selling on eBay.
A simple example where diminishing returns would apply is sweeping a floor; each sweep of the broom requires the same expenditure of effort, time and resources (lighting, broom wear, etc), but the amount of dust collected by each sweep diminishes exponentially, and after a while you’re chasing dust molecules.
A good example of diminishing returns from eBay activity would be the probabilty of an item selling relative to the amount of information provided in the listing. A listing for a plaid shirt worn by Bryan Cranston in an episode of Breaking Bad will be more likely to sell if the provenance is detailed vs just listing it as a “shirt, plaid.” But doing hours of research to describe every detail of the episode would likely yield diminishing returns.
Or the diminishing returns achieved from analyzing why your STR might be falling over time.
With respect to selling multiple, identical items, in the volumes folks like us list relative to the size of the eBay market, there shouldn’t be a discernible market saturation effect, except for rare, low-demand items. Typical identical items should have, on average, the same probability of selling regardless of number listed.
07/03/2018 at 2:02 pm #44329
We aren’t necessarily creating our own competition in our space. In fact, we are broadening our appeal.
In the Polo shirt example. If I list one, I’m only hitting one of each characteristic:
So if I list a Large Blue Striped Brooks Brothers 100% Cotton shirt, that is a small audience. If I also list a Medium Blue Striped Brooks Brothers 100% Cotton shirt, I have expanded my audience. Then how about Pink? Peter Millar? Polyester?
None of the items you discuss are concerns with a lower STR rate. Clothing and shoes are easily stored and kept, so a larger inventory is easier to get to. The concern with a low STR is if items aren’t moving, and the market changes tastes, you get stuck with lots of inventory that nobody wants. They were selling when you bought them, but they may not sell a year or two later. I have seen this happen with brands and styles already in the last few years.
Same with Hard Goods. No more Wilton Cake Pans. No Hummel items. No more Ski Helmets. Stuff that we used to buy and sell for profit has changed. This is one reason that I don’t like GTC (or at a minimum, I preach that you HAVE to review your inventory and evaluate older items that have not sold). It is easy to grow an inventory, but it is more important to grow inventory that will still sell.
07/04/2018 at 9:18 am #44396
I don’t think creating your own competition or items bought in multiples is the primary explanation. STR = (sales)/(total inventory). STR drops because the denominator keeps growing as long-tail stuff piles up in your inventory.
07/04/2018 at 11:09 am #44404
Simplico: I agree with you on some of the reasons for a degradation of STR as inventory grows. We all see it happen, and I have yet to see any numbers of a store that maintains the same STR at the 500-1000 level through to the 2000+ level. Unless the STR was sub 5% monthly when it was 500. At that point, the degradation is so small that it is hard to see. Going from 5% STR to 4% STR is a 20% decrease…but hard to see unless you are using decimals and tracking the % decrease.
I think that as you grow, your long tail items stay around and continue to become a larger and larger part of inventory, dropping the STR. I also think that bad buys hang around, bad pricing, bad listings, etc. unless they are reviewed and updated to get them updated and back into the world.
I think the important lesson is for anyone trying to forecast what their store will do in the future, ESPECIALLY for anyone considering going full time, you have to know what your store will generate with higher inventory. Whether you forecast your Sales by STR x Inventory Volume x ASP (my method), or simply Inventory Value in $ x STR, in either method, as Inventory Volume grows, STR will degrade.
Your growth will not be linear. Plan for a degradation. If you don’t have a degradation, GREAT! You win on the upside! But better to plan for a few stormy clouds and headwinds…
07/06/2018 at 7:46 am #44561
I find this whole running an ebay business with forecasts and data to be fascinating for smaller sellers who source using thrift stores, estate sales, etc,. I still don’t think that the majority of us can use the same tools to run our random, or general store businesses the same way that people at Old Navy or Walmart use to determine their businesses. We can’t even compare ourselves to Amazon, which would be the closest means to selling like ourselves.
Our stock is determined by what we find in the wild. Our sales come about by how much effort we put into listing it, and how long we are willing to hold.
I have always personally tried to run my Ebay store like a B&M bookstore. That means buying all the books I find interesting, and then dumping them in my store. If other people find them interesting, good, I have a good eye for what people are looking for. If people don’t like them at the moment, oh well, someone will come around in 5-10 years who will appreciate what I have picked out.
I just know that I cannot forecast what people will like in the future from my store. One type of item will sell really well for a few years, and then bam, silence for a few years before sales pick back up to normal. I can forecast what they like now, and have liked in the past, but other than that I cannot determine the specific item they will like at a specific time. All I can do is stock vintage used items for when they are interested again.
07/06/2018 at 8:43 am #44570
Almasty, we’re right there with you. Team Junkers.
I’m also endlessly fascinated by those sellers who break down sales and forecast their numbers. But unless you sell the exact same product lines, how do you predict sales for random items?
I like the used book seller analogy. I’ve always seen our eBay store as being similar to the guy who sells junk out of the back of his car at a flea market except our trunk has infinite storage, customers can teleport to us instead us having to drive around to them, and there’s a virtual robot that makes them pay for the item so we dont have to be there to collect money.
I think the used bookstore analogy is better.
07/06/2018 at 9:42 am #44583
Almasty and Jay: You both make good points, and your perspectives are reasonable with your past experiences and current plans. From my perspective…even a used bookstore can reasonably predict their sales.
Item by item? No. Store in total? Yes. Weekly? Not really. Monthly? Yep.
We have a tilt towards clothing and shoes, but there is still a large variance in pricing within each. $15 shirt and $250 suit. $20 Sandals and $170 Boots. And hard goods from $9 to $1,900 print.
But by looking at our average Sell Thru Rate for a month and our Average Selling Price for a month, I can reasonably predict what our sales will be. By knowing how much inventory I have, what our normal STR is (for that time of year), and the ASP (both recent and for that time of year), I can make some reasonable predictions. By knowing how our other costs flow, I can predict what our net cash position will be each month. This was even the case when we were mostly hard goods. Over the course of a month, averages can be used to reasonably make a prediction.
Should everyone do this? No. Part time and just like the extra money? Probably not. Don’t really care about growth? Nope. Not worried about inventory space or care about maximizing returns? Nah.
But when we had to decide to bring in a photographer, the calculation is more than just how much you will pay them and how does that impact the net profit per item. It is also important to understand how your cash position will change by doing so. You pay them this month to take photos, but the item may not sell for 2 years. How does paying them now but sales coming later impact your cash for the next few months?
This is my main focus for forecasting. With our financial situation (mortgage in Denver with 2 college boys), we need to be able to forecast our cash. Bringing on a photographer was crucial to us, but by knowing how our business performs, I knew that we had a 4 month cash flow hole while we absorb his cost (and increased inventory purchasing) until it starts really paying off. And by forecasting the current and one future year, I can see what we will be generating in 2019. We also may be bringing on a second person in September. Another cash flow hole, but it is during Q4 so we can absorb it better, and it really changes things for 2019 (getting excited!).
For others with a lower STR, bringing on more help will take longer to pay off. If you are only selling 4%-5% each month, then adding more inventory and more labor costs now will take probably 8-12 months to pay off in a net cash position. If inventory takes a long time to sell on average, then it will take a long time to recoup the cost of labor when they sell.
This also holds true for anyone considering going full time. How much more spending will you do on inventory now that you are doing this full time? How long will it take for those items to sell? How much cash can you take out of the business while still funding a growing inventory?
Trust me, I understand that many folks are baffled at why we forecast our numbers. But we have goals and plans for the future both in and out of this business. So for us to reach those goals, we use this as a tool.
Like 30 Day Listings…it works for us. Others results may vary… 🙂
07/06/2018 at 11:31 am #44596
I’m glad you forecast numbers and share with us. Please keep doing it.
But how do you forecast numbers when you do not sell consistent inventory? Even though you sell a shirts, I assume very few are the exact same brand, size, color. It’s not like you’re selling coca-cola.
What are you’re predictions based on?
If I look at our numbers year after year, there’s remarkable consistency, but there’s no basis for knowing why. It’s kind of just magic. We throw up the most random items and there’s just this innate appetite in the US to buy stuff.
07/06/2018 at 12:59 pm #44603
Below is the screenshot of my main forecast tab. This forecasts our revenue for each month. Other costs are forecasted differently, but your main question is on how to forecast Revenue.
Take your inventory at the beginning of the month. Multiply that times your monthly Sell Thru Rate. That gives you the total number of sales. Multiply your total number of sales by your Average Selling Price. Total Revenue.
You don’t have to know exactly what will sell, you are using monthly averages. I have tracked my numbers monthly, so I can see when I sell more (Q4) and when I sell less (July). Also can see the trend in our ASP. Yes, sometimes big items sell, but small items sell as well. With that variation, look at how consistent our store’s ASP is for the month. We sell $100 items and $15 items, yet we trend to an average. We have higher months and lower months in STR, but a reasonable range to predict from.
In your case, when I first started following you guys, you were running at about a 3.5% STR this time of year (using 2014 numbers), but you have now slid down to about 2.7% recently. Your STR is pretty stable, so you can reasonably predict how many items will sell (Inventory volume x STR).
Your ASP has more variation, so that would be (for you) the bigger item that would drive a variance in your forecast. But you could probably predict a $35 ASP for the month and be pretty close, probably a little on the light side.
Yes, you guys have been reasonably consistent in your revenue, but you are now at twice the inventory volume as well. You guys were making around the same each week when you were at 3300 in inventory in 2013 that you are now at 6300 in inventory. You have grown your income definitely, but not at the same rate as your inventory. You have the STR degradation we have all talked about, which from 3.5% to 2.7% isn’t huge at that level (you can still reasonably predict it each month), but it is a 20% drop (.7%/3.5%). But even with that, you could reasonably predict how many items will sell in your store each month.
The goal isn’t to be perfect, but to know what a reasonable expectation would be. Enough to see how your business will be in the future, especially if you want to make a change to the business. And by doing this, you CAN get a reason why your numbers change.
Look at June 2018 vs June 2017. What changed? We sold at almost the same rate (1% slower), but at the higher inventory we sold 57 more items this year. So volume of sales was up. We sold at a $4.61 higher ASP. So Prices were up.
Price/Volume Variance is always accurate:
Volume Variance is Change in Volume x Original Price.
Price Variance is Change in Price x New Volume.
So our 2018 June was $2,585 higher than 2017. $1,097 was due to higher volume, and $1,489 was due to higher ASP.
End of the day, Forecasting is as much art as science. You want to err a little on the conservative side if you want to see how a change will impact your business. Of course, not so conservative that your forecasts tell you not to do something.
07/06/2018 at 1:23 pm #44610
Huh, I either dont know how to ask the question, or maybe am not understanding.
Because our inventory is always different, how could anyone predict sales?
Your past sales is just a set of numbers based on a different kind of inventory.
Coke can possibly predict their future sales since they sell a consistent product to a buyer who is consistently buying their product. Coke can effect sales by massive advertising to create habitual purchasing + signing contracts.
07/06/2018 at 1:30 pm #44616
Jay: But in an aggregate sense, you don’t have different inventory. You buy the same type of stuff all the time. Variations on a theme.
If you look at your numbers, you trend at a certain range of sales volume every month. Less now than 4 years ago, but your STR is very predicable. Your ASP changes more than your STR does, but when you look at it in terms of a month…you are in the same range all the time.
Each item you have in inventory is different, but you are still selling the same TYPE of item every month.
If I took the time to get your monthly numbers (Inventory, STR, and ASP) for the past 3 years…I’m betting I could get close to forecasting your revenue each month.
07/06/2018 at 3:11 pm #44620
We certainly have the same categories of items. Maybe that’s good enough? We’re spending the day listing items and it’s crazy the weird stuff we sell.
So do you think your predictions will help you avoid the reality many of us have of sales not growing in a linear way as our inventory gets bigger?
07/06/2018 at 3:53 pm #44624
“So do you think your predictions will help you avoid the reality many of us have of sales not growing in a linear way as our inventory gets bigger?”
No…and yes. I don’t think you can completely remove the effect of long tail items. But you can control the bad buys / the bad listings / the bad pricing effect buy constantly reviewing your STR and questioning any degradation that you see Year-Over-Year. This is why I split out Clothing, Shoes, and Hard Goods. For the most part, I really shouldn’t be getting a lot of long tail items in Clothing and Shoes. Yes, Suits, Sport Coats, and Jackets sell more in Q4-Q1, but hopefully by watching the STR and trying to understand why it is going up or down, I can mitigate it. Or if I can’t, I can understand the business that I am creating…and forecast accordingly
Any prediction is only as good as the assumptions it is based on. And it doesn’t change fundamental facts. But by doing the exercises, you can understand more of what causes them, and you can have a better understanding of where your business is headed.
PS – If you will notice, I have forecasted lower STR’s this year vs. last year. So no, I don’t think that reality changes…unless I make drastic changes to the business.
07/06/2018 at 7:12 pm #44639
What I find interesting about this is that my sales are consistantly at 150-200 items sold per month on ebay, no matter what. I would say 35% or greater of the items I sell are either genuinely scarce or have rarely been listed before on the internet, if ever. Why do I still see such consistency of items being sold at all price points?
I could see items that people want or need being sold at those rates, but a lot of items are just ??? because I’m the only person in the world apparently that finds the item interesting enough to be picked up and listed.
Based on the inability to 100% effectively price or gauge customer reception to what is being introduced to the marketplace, how am I stuck in the rut of similar number of items being sold? Shouldn’t there be a wild discrepancy each month based on what is listed if it has never been introduced online before? Either absolutely no interest, or an insane amount and I sell out right away and that overall boosts my numbers up? Is it overall that hot & cold, but it just ends up at the same numbers month after month anyway?
I am listing the same types of items from a broad perspective, but that shouldn’t really make any difference if the items themselves are completely different, especially when they are being sold to completely different people with different interests than the previous items that have sold month after month.
I did have a boost last year when I sold off a collection that created sales of 200-300 items sold per month. Since I have not had access to a collection like that since, my sales have adjusted downward to 150-200 items sold per month on a greater amount of listings than a year ago. Hence, not being able to purely compare overall sales year over year or fully project growth or plain steadiness other than just bloating my store up and hoping it catches more eyes. Finding amazing “home run” collections will really screw your overall sense of sales if you are basing them on past years.
I pretty much feel like the underwear gnomes from south park to compare the way I’m running my business vs. you guys with flow charts.
07/06/2018 at 2:26 pm #44617
Jay, yes you may have different inventory at the item description level but all items have something in common. The majority of your items are things – through experience – you know people will want (there is a market) and have an approximate base value (ASP).
Take shoes for example. My shoe inventory may be very diverse style, brand, size, and gender. It also turns over on a fairly regular basis.
All of that is irrelevant statistically if you break it down like this: I have an inventory of shoes that have a known market and have an approximately value of on average $30. The main assumption is that I know what I’m doing and I’m only adding quality merchandise that fills a market demand. You and Ryanne have demonstrated over a long period that you are adding quality merchansise to y our inventory so you have statistical relevance for analysis.
It’s really not that different from an actual store – the products, styles, and brands change all the time!
07/06/2018 at 2:46 pm #44618
Understood. I guess we run our store more like artists where we’re moving on instinct and gut feeling. Each item we scavenge and list makes sense, but overall we have little sense of how the entire inventory works.
This is why we know everything will sell. It may take time, but everything sells because we listed it knowing that item has an audience/collector.
I love how Tsatt and others break down those numbers. It obviously gives them confidence and direction. We kooky artists are just blind to why the numbers make sense.
07/06/2018 at 2:56 pm #44619
Jay, this is why Left Brains and Right Brains need each other.
Right Brains challenge the norm and look for the new and creative.
Left Brains require that activity occurs in structure and discipline generates focused work.
You have SOME of that Left brain side in that you look for numbers to provide some guidance. “Show me the proof.” “How much are your sales increasing with 30 Day Listings?” “What is a Gamechanger for our numbers?”
I’m much more Left Brain, so I look for small advantages that build. A few more sales here, an increased price there…these add up to big changes overall. If I can improve a process that increases our profit by $1/hr., lots of people don’t see that as valuable. But I get that $1/hr FOREVER.
I’m more like a Casino…they do well with just a few percentage points in their favor… 🙂
07/06/2018 at 3:18 pm #44621
–That extra $1 that you are squeezing out with efficiency drives you. Does what you sell matter?
–The thrill of finding and listing interesting object keeps us passionate and drives us. Obviously we care about money, but we the specific numbers dont matter as much as staying passionate.
Whatever it takes.
07/06/2018 at 3:57 pm #44626
“Does what you sell matter?” – Yes. We don’t do women’s clothing other than jeans or shoes. Neither of us care. Is there money there? Yep. Do we want it? Nope.
And we are similar about what listing what we like. Veronica has really started to like the shoe game, and she is enjoying that. But we don’t do anything just for the money.
Mostly, I just hate inefficient processes. They waste time and effort. That is why I love podcasts…learning while listing…
07/06/2018 at 10:15 am #44587
Ran my STR numbers and sure enough…
07/06/2018 at 10:23 am #44591
Simplico: What were the respective levels of inventory that you had during that time? That would give context. For example, if your inventory is growing a lot, this degradation would make sense.
Low STR in June isn’t necessarily concerning, but that this June is so much lower than last June would be concerning.
07/06/2018 at 1:23 pm #44609
Hey T-Satt, yeah, sorry, I should’ve given some context. I was still very new to ebay in 2017. January 2017: 160 items, June 2017: 282 items, June 2018: 1373 items
(Items not listings – I’ve been buying a lot of multiples this year.)
I found a dumb spreadsheet error on the STR graph above though – lately it’s actually been about 2.4% not sub 1%. But the trend is definitely precipitously down.
07/06/2018 at 1:26 pm #44613
Yeah, then a lot of that is increasing inventory, especially if the items are long tail. You are increasing the inventory way faster than the sales can keep up.
07/04/2018 at 10:46 pm #44493Anonymous
The accumulation of super long-tail items seems the most plausible reason for STR degradation, and is easy enough to analyze, if you’re tracking inventory in a spreadsheet or database. A useful metric for monitoring the phenomenon at the item level is obtained from PA/T,
P=Potential profit in $ (or your currency of choice)
A=Age of listing in weeks
T=Threshold “profit-age” (below which the stranded value is tolerable)
This generates an index value that identifies items that exceed a profit-age threshold value, T, chosen based on your personal tolerance. If you’re willing to sit on a $30 potential profit for 100 weeks, or a $100 profit for 30 weeks (which is the same profit-age), you’d set T=3000 (30×100). Items who’s PA exceed the chosen T would result in a PA/T above 1.0, so you could periodically search for items with PA/T above 1.0 and decide if they need attention like a lower price, better description, or maybe the listing photos disappeared.
Of course, you could also calculate CA/T, or “cost-age”, by substituting cost basis, C, for potential profit, P.
My apologies to the bookkeepers out there who probably already know this calculation by some other name–I just made all this up today. For the rest of you, may this prove to be useful.
07/05/2018 at 7:33 am #44503
That’s really useful and interesting. Thank you for this!
As an Etsy seller, I’ll also try and work out how to include the accumulating listing fees into the costs. I enjoy fiddling around with Excel.
07/03/2018 at 11:57 pm #44385Anonymous
T-Satt: I guess I haven’t been paying attention–those are HUGE STRs. And they don’t seem to have any seasonality. Remind me what kind of stuff you sell.
07/04/2018 at 11:18 am #44407
Luftmentsh: I would love our STR to be what it was in 2015!
Actually, we do have a decent seasonality. We always have a drop in July and August. July is usually the worst drop. If you notice, the decrease in STR from Jun to July is always sizeable. I’m actually forecasting (the gray boxes) a lesser drop this year (from 16% to 13%), but still a 1% drop from last year).
August is a bugger to some extent. We always have a bounce from July except for 2016. But then again, in 2016, we spent 4 weeks in Panama…no new listings…and then look at the jump from August to September when we starting listing again…
We sell clothing, hard goods, and just recently started shoes. We have expanded some clothing types that I think is helping ease our summer, and Veronica is killing with good shoe brands that are selling good right now that is helping as well. STR still looking good, just a lower ASP in the summer as well.
You can see that we always have a strong November and December. I’m tempering that right now, but hoping to win on the upside…
07/03/2018 at 10:05 am #44290
You’re right, charity shops are small and expensive. Lots of the major charities are now selling their vintage/antiques/valuables online via Ebay. It makes financial sense for them to get as much as possible for their donated goods. We all know that selling online is profitable. The shops are left with the newer landfill plastic detritus with very little or no value.
We’ve recently found that a national charity has it’s online selling warehouse in Leeds, so we are buying stock from them and picking it up. Typewriters and bulk ceramics so far.
No yard sales, no. If a family had stuff to sell they would take it to a car boot sale,
which is where we scavenge. We normally do 2 or 3 on a Sunday. Takes about 3-4 hours. Nice early 6am start!
Car boots are a mix of families selling their own stuff, their dead relative’s stuff (or stolen stuff!) and dealers/traders selling ‘house clearance’ boxes of mixed household possessions. There are also dealers there who buy box lots at auction and sell at car boot sales.
Most car boots are late spring to early autumn only, so we’ll look for some good auctions in winter. There are good non fancy auctions, they’re just not good at advertising themselves.
07/03/2018 at 10:37 am #44296
–Is it illegal to sell stuff in your yard? Or just improper?
–Where do these carboot sales happen and who owns that land? Do the sellers hve to pay for a space?
07/03/2018 at 10:53 am #44300
It’s not illegal, but it’s just something that doesn’t happen! Front gardens are usually very small and have hedges, fences etc. Parking would be a problem in many places.
There are very occasional ‘jumble trails’ where a city area/town will have a sale on a particular day and people will put their stuff out on the street for sale. They haven’t really caught on though.
Car boots usually happen in fields. The farmer will rent it out to a company who organises it. Sellers pay a small fee ($20) and buyers pay a tiny fee to get in ($1.50). Regular ones are weekly, usually early Saturday or Sunday mornings. Not sure why. Just to torture those of us who’d rather have a lie in!
07/03/2018 at 10:24 am #44294
Hello everyone! I’m back after a hiatus whilst moving to my new home. I had a bit of catching up to do on the podcasts. The move went well. Took two weeks off and spent every day of it hauling and unpacking. I’m still very exhausted from everything, but I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel thankfully. I shut my eBay store down for the move and I’m glad I did. Nothing got damaged, but I didn’t need the stress while everything was happening.
I just opened my store back up yesterday and almost immediately made a sale. I just hope our new USPS deliverer does package pickups as well as our last one.
I’ve read about the eBay fiasco with people losing their pictures, so I checked and sure enough, 249 of my listings have only a single picture in the gallery. There’s a fast way to check to see which listings have been affected. I went to http://www.isdntek.com/ebaytools/BulkPhotoScanner.htm, put my store name in and clicked Fast Scan. This may take a while depending on your store size. After the scan, it gives you the option below to create a report. I chose CSV All, built the report and copied and pasted everything into an Excel or Google spreadsheet. From there you can sort by the SECOND “PhotoURLs” column (column “I” for me) to figure out which listings only contain one photo. I hope this helps, and I can clarify if anyone needs me to.
07/03/2018 at 11:12 am #44306
Do you have backups of all your photos?
07/03/2018 at 11:21 am #44308
I do, but they’re not organized very well. It’ll take me a long time to add them back in. I’m debating if I should start doing that or wait and see if eBay comes up with a fix that will retrieve them.
07/03/2018 at 11:51 am #44315
Let us know if eBay says anything about finding the photos. So far, we havent heard any news.
07/06/2018 at 10:18 am #44589
I ended up manually replacing all my missing photos yesterday rather than waiting to see if eBay would come up with a solution. It took me about 8 hours, but now I have peace of mind knowing I’m not losing sales due to lack of pictures. I wish I could bill eBay for my time fixing their screw up.
07/03/2018 at 1:46 pm #44325
This tool is fantastic! Thanks for sharing! I found a handful on my own, but I also missed several.
07/03/2018 at 2:01 pm #44328MDC Galleries & Fine ArtParticipant
- Location: Atlanta
Neat little utility. Ran it for our shop and all photos are present and accounted for. Maybe due to using WonderLister, having all our photos on our new 4 TB external Hard Drive and having WL cancel and relist every 30 days. Guess if it did happen then the relist would have grabbed the hptos off of our hard drive and reinserted on the relist [maybe], not sure. But he main thing is we avoided the disappearing photo event, thank goodness.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
07/06/2018 at 10:20 am #44590Julie BParticipant
- Location: Georgia
Doublythumbs, thank you for posting the link to the ebay photo scanning tool. It found a few listings that I had missed in my initial assessment. Gonna fix them now.
07/03/2018 at 3:47 pm #44333
I was finishing this week’s episode in the car today and heard Jay mention that you can be TRS and not TRS+. I just want to make sure everyone understands that TRS+ is on a per-item basis. It’s not an all or nothing thing. I hear your callers talk about the weight lifted off their shoulders when they decide not to “jump through the hoops” for the TRS+ FVF discount. Why not offer it on items that are cheap to ship and not a high-risk of returns? Might as well get the 10% discount on 60% of your items (guessing), and then not offer it on the heavy or larger items, or not on clothing, which tends to have a higher rate of returns. That’s my strategy anyway.
On a different topic, I’ve noticed the tone of the callers lately has been very negative towards eBay. I hope it’s just a temporary frustration to the slower summer sales and these latest changes. What I love most about you both and this podcast is that you take a logical approach and will address obstacles with the changing landscape and how to succeed in spite of them. I think that is the mark of a successful entrepreneur. That’s why I’m excited to download the new episode every Monday.
And finally, it was mentioned on the podcast that the 14-day rule for markdowns applies to the first 14 days of GTC items too. That is in fact not the case, or at least not supposed to be the case. I confirmed it with Griff, who sent me to the FAQs for this rule. Did you actually see that impact your listings?
07/03/2018 at 4:17 pm #44337
You are correct. Even we get confused by TRS vs TRS plus.
–TRS is at the seller level. You are a Top Rated Seller.
–TRS Plus is at the item level. Your item is a Top Rated Seller Plus item.
I think things have been negative among listener because its just slow summer, plus eBay has been having a lot of bugs/problems that they haven’t communicated well. Its just frustration. We do the good and the bad here.
We couldnt start a new sale on our GTC items when they ended over the weekend. No error message or explanation. We just assumed its the 14-day rule on any item that ends. Can you post the email that Griff sent you about the new 14-day rule? Or is there a link on eBay?
07/03/2018 at 5:01 pm #44340VintageTreasuresParticipant
My numbers for the week of June 24 – 30, 2018
Total items in store: 194 eBay & 127 Etsy
Items sold: 24 eBay & 5 Etsy
Cost of items sold: $25.25 approximately
Total sales: $565.25: $506.25 eBay & $59.00 Etsy
Highest price sold: vintage santos de Cartier parfum $40.00 (best offer with free shipping). So in reality the highest price sold was a tie between a pair of Patagonia Men’s Jeans and a Metropolitan Museum of Art Mazeltov Crewel Peacock Pillow Kit; both sold for $39.95 with buyers paying shipping.
Average price sold: $19.49
Money spent on new inventory this week: $126.12!
Number of items listed this week: 53
Another good week for me, I think this is only the 2nd time I’ve hit more than $500.00 in a week. I did spend $88.12 at one estate sale on Thursday but it should really pay off. I bought 13 old fabric store pattern catalog books as well as hundreds of other vintage sewing related items. Just one of the pattern catalog books should more than cover the entire amount I spent at the sale. These are a good BOLO item FYI. Vogue sells for the most and I wouldn’t buy them at all unless they are 1970’s or earlier. I think I will get at least between $50 to $125 each for the 13 I bought, they are all from the 1960’s – 1970’s.
Wishing everyone a happy July 4th!
07/03/2018 at 5:13 pm #44345SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
Is the fabric store pattern catalog book where you look for a pattern you want? Once you find what you are interested in, you go to the drawers where all the patterns are organized by number and find the right package?
I don’t think I’ve ever seen one outside of a store.
07/03/2018 at 6:18 pm #44350
It was actually on Facebook, link here
He referenced the FAQs found here: https://pages.ebay.com/seller-center/seller-updates/2018-summer/ebay-stores.html#m17-2-tb1
Go to FAQs for Markdowns, and find the question “Does this affect Good ‘Till Cancelled Renewals?”
07/03/2018 at 6:51 pm #44358VintageTreasuresParticipant
Yes Sharyn, you are correct. They aren’t very commonly found outside the stores, but sometimes they made it into personal collections after the new books came in. Estate sales that have a lot of sewing stuff are where you will most likely find them.
07/03/2018 at 9:51 pm #44373retiredtreasures719Participant
- Location: Troy, Ohio
Last week was just all around slow. Slow sales, low listings (because I had run out of free ones and was too cheap to spend $$) compounded by not one, but TWO returns.
Couple of things that stood out from this week’s podcast-I never turned on free returns because I usually don’t have many and it seemed hinky to me. Instead, every day for the past 10 days or so, I get a message every time I get on to ship about updating my return policy for 3-6 items. Back before the USPS screwed up my top rated status, I had complied with the one day handling and 30 day return policy. I bulk edited my items so they would all have 30 day returns. Somehow, these listings they are asking me to update have all switched back to a 14 day return period. I haven’t called eBay, but it is getting annoying. Anyone else having this problem? Maybe it’s because I didn’t turn on free returns?
I hadn’t really paid too much attention to the new sale policy, but I can see where it could be a pain. I usually only run sales about once a month for 5-6 days. In June, since I was doing the big clean out of low priced listings to make room for bigger and better items, I created a sale that was good for a month on some old items that were borderline. The longer period doesn’t seem to have made them move any faster, bearing in mind that it is the slow season.
Breyer horse people-I sold several of mine when we moved. Be aware that Breyer Horse buyers are very nit picky! They quibbled with me over every scratch or perceived problem once they received the item. List every little flaw you can find!
Oh and Ryanne, my husband doesn’t listen to what I’m saying either. I use this to my advantage to subliminally implant ideas into his head that I want and then let him think it’s his idea!
eBay June 24-30
Total sales. $79.45
Items in store. 1,037
# sold. 9
$ spent on new. $18.50
# listed. 4
Highest sale. $25 vintage metal Rolodex file
07/05/2018 at 8:34 am #44507
I’m having the 6 items not meeting returns requirement bug as well. I bulk edited all of my items to remove returns completely.
When I go to edit these 6 items, they disappear in the bulk editor screen. Weird…
07/04/2018 at 1:18 pm #44444BrianBParticipant
Hello all: We had heavy rain for 3 straight days about 2 weeks ago. For the first time in 22 years of living in our house we had water in our basement. The short story is I am a part-time eBay seller and had quite a bit of my listed and unlisted inventory in the basement. The majority of the floor was carpeted so I had a big clean up job.
The reason I am mentioning this is to ask each of you to take a minute to think about how your inventory is stored. I didn’t lose too much in the way of inventory, but it easily could have been a lot worse. I did have to recycle a bunch of empty boxes, which wasn’t so bad, but the whole experience has made me think about what I will do differently going forward.
My pain can easily be your gain. Happy 4th of July.
07/04/2018 at 1:20 pm #44446
There;s been a couple scavengers here that have been wiped out by floods.
Basements are definitely a cool way to store items, but water is always the danger. I’m assuming if you get everything off the floor, that would go a long way to protect it all from a couple inches of water.
07/06/2018 at 10:26 am #44592
BrianB, I’m glad you made it through without too much damage. Wet carpet is so awful to move! I’ll never forget when my basement got flooded last year. It taught me a lot about better inventory practices: Securing shelving, not using cardboard boxes to store things in, keeping things a few inches above the ground when possible (although in my case it that wouldn’t have helped with 4 feet of water). One of the reasons we moved to our new house is because it’s nowhere near a flood plain. I hope you can get everything back to normal soon!
07/04/2018 at 1:34 pm #44453
Also think about getting business insurance to cover these types of losses. Ours is only $500 per year.
07/04/2018 at 6:10 pm #44481mickdogParticipant
- Location: Portland, OR
My Monthly Numbers for June:
I went from the worst month in May to my 3rd best month in June. Lots of changes: more listing, free returns turned on, and promoted listings on 80% of my store all probably contributed to the bump during a historically weak month.
50 sales (doubled from last month!)
$ sold (minus shipping): $1407 (goal $1k, nice!)
Per sale average: $28.15 (goal over $25)
cost per item average: $3.53
Items in store peak for month: 605 (new record, nose to the grindstone!)
Biggest sale: New Sealed Catan Board Game Expansion Pack for $75
Trying to list 40 items a week. First week only 31, and this week so far 35 but I should hit my target. This will be helped by the fact I found a lot of 41 patches for $7.00 at a thrift store. I’ve listed half and already sold 3 for $30.00 total. I think that there is about $250 total in listings. They are so easy to list. I also had a bunch of other patches from an auction a few months back so I’m just trying to get through them all. These aren’t high value items but they are a pipeline.
07/05/2018 at 7:15 pm #44538Rydell RelicsParticipant
RR Store Week June 24-30, 2018
Total Items in Store: 1627
Items Sold: 26
Cost of Items Sold: $28.49
Total Sales: $518.28
Highest Price Sold: $55 (vintage sunglasses)
Average Price Sold: $19.93
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $92
Number of items listed this week: 52
Well, that week pretty much sucked. Sales and sourcing were both very soft. My parents are moving, and already started giving me a bunch of stuff, so I’ve been getting some free inventory. Free is good. Didn’t hit my listing goal last week, but this week I’m on track to hit it, even with the holiday.
Here’s to a better week.
07/06/2018 at 10:18 am #44588Marjean28Participant
- Location: Minneapolis, MN
RetroTreasures – regarding listing on inkfrog, I have found that the way to go, at least for me, is to use their profiles to speed up listing. I won’t go into it here, but you can create partial listing profiles to mix and match with boiler plate information for speedier listing. I use their master profiles for niche products which I know will be repetitive for me, such as postcards. I found that its not an issue to list at least 15 items an hour using that methodology. I think the thing that would speed me up the most is having a second monitor to view the images on one screen while using the master profile to create the listing on the other screen. That mostly has to do with my own vision issues though. I hope that helps! Marjean28
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