Tagged: Ebay Inventory Sytem
10/20/2019 at 1:45 pm #69303
10/20/2019 at 4:58 pm #69322Mark SParticipant
2019-10-13 – 2019-10-19
Total Items In Store: 3277
Items Sold: 21
Cost of Items Sold: $70
Total Sales: $805.52
Highest Price Sold: $80 (Hockey Skates)
Average Price Sold: $38.36
Money Spent on New Inventory: $18
Number of items listed: 13
Gut Sales Report for the week: Good week, but still doesn’t feel like the busy season yet.
Challenge of the week: I still have a lot of items I need to process and list.
Scavenge of the week: Found a Sony CD copier for $18 and it will sell for over $150.
10/20/2019 at 5:21 pm #69325Mark SParticipant
J & R,
I was just listening to the podcast. You were asking about how to check each container that it didn’t get the wrong SKU on it. I will do a high level check by going to “Listings-> Active->Custom Label (Not Item Title the default)->Contains->Enter 1”. This will return all active listings in container 1. You can at least check that you have the correct number of items in that container or bin. I also check the total price because I have that also, but you probably won’t.
For clothes, just put an Avery tag over the hanger with the SKU number on it. Then just put them in order on the clothes rack. If rack 1 ends at SKU 30, then start clothes rack 2 at SKU 31. In addition, I put clothes together in lots of about 5-7 items. I use a 33 gallon black trash bag to hold them. I cut a hole at the top where the hangers go through. Then tie the ties at the bottom. Then I put a sticker on the bag for the SKU, say 2. Then then clothes are numbered 2-1 thru 2-7.
In addition to this, I have a map of my storage area in a spreadsheet. The reason for this is that it can be hard to find a certain bin over time. This is because mine are not in order. Why? I combine bins when they start getting low on items. I move lighter containers to the top so that I don’t have heavy containers on top (I just stack the containers on top of each other). In this way, if I need to find bin 351, I just search for it on my spreadsheet. If 351 moves, I just move it on the spreadsheet. I have set up Wonderlister query to give me a pick list of everything that has sold and not shipped in the last 3 days. It will link the SKU to the container number and print out a list with where the container is located. I have names for about 20 different areas. Within each area, I have 3-7 different stacks. So, the pick list might say that bin 351 is in the Furnance Area, Stack 2, bin 351. Then it is very easy to find and I can also see it on my spreadsheet map.
10/20/2019 at 7:46 pm #69328
Week Oct 13 – Oct 19, 2019
Items in store: 4418 Listings for 6558 Items
Items Sold: 92 transactions for 96 Items
Gross Sales: $7179.96
Highest Price Sold: $240 ….NWT Peter Millar leather jacket
Lowest Price Sold: $14.00….necktie
Average Sale Price: $74.79
Cost of Goods Sold $385, Plus consignment payout, roughly $1130
Number of new items listed this week: 375 items, many were restocks
$$ spent on new inventory this week $18,140.45. Ouch.
Scavenge of the week.
A nice 3 pack of mens dress shoes by Alden, Brooks Brothers and Barrie LTD.
I spent 7 out of the last 10 days on the road, visiting and sourcing. Fortunately the last 3 were spent at the Finger Lakes for our 12th anniversary.
10/20/2019 at 7:50 pm #69329
Looks like the eBay issues with clothing listings didnt hurt your sales at all.
10/20/2019 at 8:11 pm #69331
Looks like mainly the Suits & Suit Separates and Shoe categories were affected by the item specifics changes as far as my store goes. I didn’t sell too much in either of those categories this week.
10/20/2019 at 8:02 pm #69330RickerParticipant
- Location: Florida
Sales are down 47.2%, and I am livid! Zero sales today on a Sunday & I’m listing new items!100% of my items are clothing and footwear…
Week Oct 13 – Oct 19, 2019
Items in store: 615
Items Sold: 10
Gross Sales: $833.19
Highest Price Sold: $181.00 ( Vintage 90’s Cooper A2 leather flight jacket)
Average Sale Price: $83.31
Money Spent on New Inventory: $154.38
Number of items listed: Uncertain
10/20/2019 at 11:01 pm #69333
Total Items in Store: 263
Items Sold: 5
Gross Sales: $159 – all Ebay, 0 Mercari (off part of week)
Cost of Items Sold: $12
Highest Price Sold: $100 Christmas stocking craft kit (paid $3)
Average Price Sold: $31
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $4
Number of items listed this week: 17
Thanks for the Sunday release podcast! Listened on our way back from San Diego for an anniversary weekend getaway. Sorry to hear about the glitches for clothing. I saw new item specifics in Home and Garden last week but did not seem to have issues. I did not catch on that they were not all mandatory. Some seemed excessive or unrelated but I just typed not applicable to fill something in.
Good luck with your inventory project R&J. Seems like it will be time consuming but will free you up in the end. I’m working away at the death piles but thrifted San Diego for an hour in Point Loma. Seemed very picked over but I bought this Marushka fabric art in brown and thought of you Ryanne.
10/21/2019 at 1:31 am #69335soniaParticipant
- Location: Northeast US
BTW, Marushka is back, this time with their ready-to-wear line 🙂
I showed up to yoga class one night recently and was stunned to see my teacher wearing a brand new shirt with a pretty design with that unmistakable Marushka signature. https://marushka.com/shop/marushka-designs/poppies.html
She had received it as a gift and had no idea of the history, despite being older than me.
10/21/2019 at 8:19 am #69346
@ChristineR, Happy Anniversary! Which day? We celebrated 12 years yesterday (20th).
10/21/2019 at 10:22 am #69362
@Seam thanks! We had 21 years on 9/28 (celebrated late – trip instead of gifts). Happy anniversary to you too. Your numbers are amazing btw.
10/21/2019 at 7:48 am #69343
So what happens when eBay randomly deletes your custom sku field? Food for thought. I also feel like it would be very time consuming to lkocate those custom sku fields post sale. Do they transfer to the shipping screen? Or do you have to open each listing, fight the ads that pop up, then locate the sku yourself?
As far as inventory… Not to beat a dead horse, but here is where sixbit comes in handy again.
My system is to label every shelf/area in my warehouse with a number/letter designation. I also label every box with a number. The boxes have two adhesive business card holders on them. One has a tag that classifies the items in the box (misc, parts, fragile, etc…) and the other one I place a pink tag in if the box has a lot of room in it, that way if I am taking pics I know boxes I can grab to fill. I also put the box number on the box and lid. If there is a little bit of room in the box I turn the lid backwards so the number doesn’t show. If I use a box I disregard the shelf number, but if no box then I use the shelf number for location. I have standardized on the uline economy storage file boxes with lids (S-6521/S-9879). There are also file cabinets that would be like FC1A for file cabinet 1 drawer A then each folder in the file cabinet is 1-? so the location would be FC1A-23. I also have shelving units that have small boxes about the size of medium flat rates that are lettered so each box on the shelf is like “C23”. These are good for small items. I have a few jewelry boxes too, they would be like JB1, JB2, etc…
When taking photographs I do groups of items in the same box. The first picture I take is of the box number. Then I proceed to photograph everything until that box is full. Then I take a picture of the next box number and repeat. If it is going on a shelf I take a pic of the shelf number. Then I take all of the pictures and put them in folders by their storage location.
When listing on sixbit you can put the storage location in the entry, you can choose as well to have that location carry across to t a duplicated listing if you like (I do since I am usually listing groups of similar items together). After you have listed an entire folder of pics you can easily glance at all the listings to verify that the locations are correct. It is also easy to go through your existing inventory and add locations. You can easily see what is missing a location and add it. You can also add the custom field from sixbit to your listing if you like. When you do your pick list each time you ship, items are sorted by inventory location which is awesome.
If an item has the incorrect location you can go back and look at a few clues to find it. You can easily look at the items that were listed before and after the missing item to see where they are stored. You can look at items that were listed on a specific day, etc…
I haven’t done an inventory yet, but I can see how on sixbit you could sort by items in a certain location and quickly verify what is there and what is not.
I have also started using the teamviewer as suggested to remote in and it is working really well. I am going to get a new desktop with more hd capacity to transfer my sixbit database to so I can work a little faster and go to a laptop to remote in to it when I’m away. Can’t wait to retire that macbook.
10/21/2019 at 8:42 am #69347
My SKU system is just to assign a bin to an item. That is incompatible with Sixbit. They want unique SKU’s for each item. I spent Thanksgiving week last year trying to move to Sixbit. It did not work out at all – lots of errors and my total listing numbers did not match.
Maybe someday I’ll try again but I wasn’t too happy in general.
10/21/2019 at 9:05 am #69351
I don’t understand exactly what issues you were having. The storage location field is where you would put your bin number. You can just let the SKU field do it’s own thing.
I am wondering about your errors as well. I have found that if I try to open any of my previous listings that might have contained java script (from inkfrog!) the whole program crashes. Sometimes I can get it open and delete the code out before I open the text editor and it works. Other times the listing just has to be abandoned or deleted.
10/21/2019 at 8:47 am #69348
@ CL: We do almost the same as you. We place our SKU number in 3 places within SixBit. One is in the actual SKU number field SB offers, then we put the Bin # in the SB location field and then we copy the SKU into a custom Item Specific field which shows in the Ebay IS custom field. Easy to find on any device we use and if Ebay crashes out on us we have everything in SixBit.
Yes, you can pull inventory reports in practically any format you can think of. By BIN #, by Item number, find full bin boxes, find empty or almost empty boxes, etc., etc.
The only thing we don’t do is use “category letters” like your “J” for jewelry. There is no need for that and just makes it more cluttered. Since SixBit requires a “UNIQUE” sku for EACH ITEM, then just a consecutive numbering system is all that is needed. But we have other things embedded into our SKU.
We standardized on SKU numbers of a consistent length. 23 characters. Having SKU numbers, the same length makes it easy to see a SKU number that is too short or too lo0ng which means we missed a character or added a character. But typo errors as Jay mentions can happen. Care must be taken. So, we have our tags that we attach to all items pre-numbered when we print them.
To decipher our SKU, it is this:
the first 5 numbers are the item number. Having 5 characters allows an inventory to consecutively go up to 99,999 before we start over, the next 2 characters are fake numbers and don’t mean a thing. They help camouflage our real details, then the next 4 numbers is the price we paid for that item, the next 2 numbers are again camouflage numbers and don’t mean a thing, then the next 4 numbers are the date we purchased, the g means the “G”arage, but could be “A”ttic, “B”asement, “S”hed, etc., the next 4 numbers are the bin the item is in and the last letter is the box that is in that shelf space.
So, the above SKU reads and means this: Item number on its tag is item 05160 then xx [dummy], paid $03.50 xx [dummy], bought 04/19, located in the garage area, shelf space 1510, and box #1510a. We number 1 to 3 boxes for each shelf space with the same number but box A-B-or C. This allows for one large box, or two or 3 smaller boxes in that shelf space. Our shelves are spaced up/down that allows 1 big box like yours with 2 smaller boxes on top.
So, we print a “PICK LIST” form SixBit. That list shows a small thumbnail photo of the items that SOLD, THEN THE FULL sku NUMBER. we TAKE THAT LIST TO THE GARAGE AND GO DOWN THE LIST. go TO SHELF SPACE 1510, the grab box 1510a, open it and find item #05160. We don’t care if #05160 is a vase, a belt, a tie, a pair of shows or a hat. That is why SB makes you use a “UNIQUE” Number for each item. #5160 is what it is. Don’t care. It is #5160 and when we grab that item with the tag hanging on it, that is what was ordered and what we will ship.
If the tag has detached, it is easy to still find the item because SixBit provides a thumbnail photo of it.
Any helper can go to SixBit, print the “SOLDS” list, go to the garage and then go to let’s say 5 different shelf number locations and pull the item numbers from boxes on that shelf spot.
To JandR, yes, number BOTH the boxes AND the Shelf Space with the same number. Reason, we pull complete boxes off the shelves at time and take up to the office. When you go to replace that box, it is easy to replace back in the correct shelf space.
Now why include the price we paid, and date bought. well using 3rd party software we can also filter our listing very easily by date to find old inventory. Just filter using the search term 16g and we will get every item that we still have from 2016 in stock that we bought in 2016. Use the filter search term any number less than 18g “<” then SixBit gives us every item we bought before in 2018 and before that is still in stock. Great to use to find old stock. I did this the other day for any item less than 15g and found we still have 84 items in our inventory that are older than 5 years old. I then did one for 13 g and saw we still have 24 items we bought as far back as 2013. Think those need to go for sure.
Now why the price paid. Well you said you are using team viewer. We remote in but those using the Ebay app can also see that SKU number. If we get an OFFER, then right in front of us is the price we paid and how long we have had it. Perfect data for us to decide if we want to accept or decline any offer.
If I got an offer for $20 for an item we have listed at $65 while we were at a live auction and I saw that the SKU showed me I had bought it 7 years ago and only paid $2.50 I would take it in a heartbeat. But if I saw I had paid $10 for it a year and a half ago, nope, decline.
So, our SKU number works for more than telling what the item is and where it is, it also helps us make selling decisions by providing us with how old it is and what we paid for it.
I have heard Ryanne say many times, “When did we get that?” then Jay say “That long ago. What did we pay for that?”. Then Ryanne says, “I don’t remember, or guesses at a number, then states, but I am not sure.”. Well a SKU number like ours covers all of that.
Jay was right in this episode when he says, “just like Amazon”. Well an individual item ID number and shelf and BIN location is all the Amazon robots need to go and pick an item. Those robots can care less if it is jewelry, shoes, ties, a monopoly game or whatever. #05160 is #05160. Finite.
If you pull the wrong item and ship it, that is why Amazon has Free Returns. Just send it back. excuse us for having an admin error.
A tip. When you mark the shelf spaces with the same number as a box bin and you decide to not use a box, who cares, just put your tall lamps, or weird shaped items that won’t fit in a box, in that space. I have a couple of shelf slots for loose large, oversize items and they just sit in that spot, WITH THEIR TAGS on them. Go to that spot and grab the item with the tag #05160 on it and ship it.
We used this system to stock 10’s of thousands of items in our storage area at several of the large printing companies I used to work for. we stocked parts for KFC, Taco Bell, Home Depot, Michelin Tires, Stanley Hardware and others. Works great.
10/21/2019 at 9:01 am #69350
I don’t do anything with the SKU for SB. It auto populates some random number in there. After I list a batch of items I export the listings to excel and fill in the relevant information about when and where. I am sure I could do all of this in SB, but I haven’t tried to figure that out yet. I keep all of my sales records in excel and then at the end of the year it is easy to run pivot tables to get all of the data for taxes.
10/21/2019 at 9:38 am #69356
In SixBit when you first open the App, on the Dashboard screen you will see a Blue tab on the upper left. Click on that tab, here is where you will find many things that as a user you can set SB to control certain aspects of the program.
Go down to the “Options” title and click. This will open up a main screen for Options, Then scroll down to “Creating Items” and you will see a screen with 4 horizontal tabs. These tabs cover Input Defaults, “SKU MANAGEMENT”, Business Policies and Variation Handling. Click Sku Management. Here is where you can change what SB puts in that SKU field you are talking about. You can turn off that SB enters it’s own consecutive numbers and have nothing show. Or you can create a whole custom numbering system that fits what ever you want, the amount of characters, if you want spaces or dashes between sets of numbers, letters in certain places and padded zeros in certain places. You can create a whole system or way you want SB to create a number in that space, starting with any number or letter you want, and for static numbers or letters that never change.
You can insert dashes after a given number of spaces, underline certain numbers or letters, have numbers placed in front of or at the end of static letters or numbers, just a whole bunch that would allow you to create any system or string of characters you will need to fit your bins, shelves or item storage places.
OR you can just unclick radio boxes and shut everything off and SB will leave the SKU field blank on your listing form. We turned it off and we input our pre-printed paper tag number as outline in this thread into that field on every listing we create.
When we buy new inventory, the first thing we do is take one of our paper pre-numbered tags and create what we call a “Quick Entry Draft”. We open a Vinatge Hard Goods Template and write in a quick short 2 or 3 word title to just help identify it and put in the first part of our SKU. Since our paper tags are pre-printed with consecutive numbers we jsut enter 05160 into that field. We finish that number later on as we open the draft and complete the listing for final upload.
But maybe in your case follow along above and just turn off SB from trying to help out and that SB SKU field will always be blank when you open up a blank template.
mike at MDCGFA
10/21/2019 at 1:12 pm #69385DylanParticipant
“So what happens when eBay randomly deletes your custom sku field?”
I have the sku in my spreadsheet, which also has the item title. That info is also in the pics folder title. Very easy to search and find. ebay has never lost the custom field (knock on wood), but I don’t rely on it always being there. In a related topic, I really wish they would put the custom field info in the confirmation of sale emails and notifications. They recently made a big deal about making their item number easy to see – which doesn’t help me at all when filling an order…
10/21/2019 at 8:07 am #69344totommytoParticipant
- Location: Naples, Fl
Hello all, and best of luck Jay & Ryanne with your inventory morph, and hoping it goes as smooth & cost effective as possible. I have a mini version of your old system in my garage and also streaming into various areas of my home. It is manageable for now.
10/06 – 10/12/19 (no cross listing is done between platforms)
eBay store: totommyto
Total store items: 890
Number of items sold: 18
Total eBay sales (not counting s/h): $585
Cost of items sold: $24.50
Highest price sold: $90.50 – Star Wars loose action figure lot – product of a trade, $ cost was zero.
Average price sold: $32.50
Money spent on new inventory: $2
Number of new items listed this week: 19
Sell through rate for the week: 2.0
Number International sales: 0
Etsy store oldfleatoymarket
Total store items: 663
Number of items sold: 5
Total Etsy sales (not counting s/h): $100
Cost of items sold: $4
Highest price sold: $24 – lot of vintage Disney Valentines – pennies
Average price sold: $19.90
Money spent on new inventory: $3
Number of new items listed this week: 0
Sell through rate for the week: 0.8
Number International sales: 2
10/21/2019 at 8:11 am #69345simplicioParticipant
Great podcast guys, it was fun to hear you hashing things out in real time.
I think you are on the right track. Two things:
(1) There is a tradeoff between precision and flexibility. When you talked about “shelf 1, rack a” etc. – depending on how big your items are, that sounds a little too precise. What I found by trial and error is that a whole shelving UNIT is (for my fairly large items) enough precision, because it allows me to reorganize that shelving unit without affecting my inventory (moves between shelves require data to be updated). Basically – don’t narrow the storage down SO much that you can’t shuffle things around a little.
(2) It’s an interesting choice to use the custom SKU field in ebay for storage of this info. What’s good is it allows your helper to be looking at photos of the relevant item when she is tracking all this info down. The bad is – well, I don’t trust ebay to keep this information. If it’s wiped out in some ebay bug, you lose your whole painstaking inventory system.
(3) SPREADSHEET. I don’t get how you have lived all this time without one (seriously, when something sells, where do you get your COGS from for taxes?). I dunno, maybe you’ll still want to use ebay custom SKUs. But know what you’re missing. You can dump your whole store at: http://www.isdntek.com/ebaytools/BulkPhotoScanner.htm
and pare that down, then add the fields you need (storage location, COGS, etc).
You asked about the reliability of the random SKU system. Yes, one drawback is, if I put something away and forgot to enter its location, I won’t have much luck finding it. You’ve got to be punctilious about that because the stuff is NOT organized thematically.
I had a great week on ebay.
Sales c/w shipping: CAD$3790, 13 items, COGS: $403 –> Gross profit after fees: $2878
Expenditures: $131 –> Cashflow: $3151
Listed: 2 items
Notable sales: it was the week of the valves. Water valve for $720, and 2 gas valves for $400 each.
10/21/2019 at 8:58 am #69349
Items in Store 1240
Items Sold 12
Total Sales $342.00
Total Profit $311.00
Average profit $25.92
Average sales price $28.50
New Listings 30
What is there to say about ebay technical team right now that hasn’t already been said? Things are still not right. The new item specifics…wow…I pity any new seller entering the game. I can’t imagine how overwhelming that must feel to be a new seller and be presented with all of that worthless crap!
A new seller could try to navigate all that BS…or go over to Posh and be done in 30 seconds with their listing.
I’m doubly pissed this week because my sales are down.
Oh and did anyone else notice that they improved how labels print? I actually do like it that a popup immediately comes on screen. It is a bit faster. My concern is what did they break when implementing this new change?
10/21/2019 at 9:41 am #69357jon_allenParticipant
- Location: Newfane, NY
SKU field is great for locations. I use marked bins. Some of my items are build to order or drop ship.
I mark each item with the listing number. A QR code with the URL to the item can be scanned with the phone app to update quantities or other fields.
10/21/2019 at 9:42 am #69358Julie BParticipant
- Location: Georgia
A terrible weekend of sales (or I should say, a lack thereof) – only 3! That’s almost unheard of for me. I have 860 items in my store.
My house is trashed from a renovation project. We just started week 2 of it today. I’m holed up in my ebay room which is already tight plus now it feels like 1/2 the contents of my house are being stored in here as well. And because there are carpenters everywhere, my dog and 1 cat are holed up in here with me. At least at the end of all of this I’ll have a new, larger ebay room.
Because the house is torn up I haven’t been able to find space to photograph but I’ve been drafting a ton of listings. I can’t wait to photograph and get new items up so I can pay for this renovation which is kinda of spiraling out of control.
10/21/2019 at 9:55 am #69359
YAY J&R are going to do inventory!!
For bin labels, I use 4×6 shipping labels and print the Bin label in the biggest font that will fit.
TO manage the data entry for bin location, I do it in a batch form. I will list a bunch of items, and then at some point I will take the bin out to storage and start putting them in labeled bins. I bring my laptop with me and enter the bin number as I am putting the item in the bin. There is no mistake this way.
If I have condensed a bin, I will bring that bin into my listing area and load it with completed listed items. Either way, the item gets the Bin number as I am physically putting the item in the bin.
I only do this process once a week or so. If an item sells and it does not have a bin location in the custom label, then I know that item is in the unmarked bin at my listing area.
10/21/2019 at 10:12 am #69360
Yep we do just about the same. If I see an almost empty bin I pull it off the shelf and place it in our office-listing area. Then as we hptograph and create the listing in draft mode, after we inspect the item for flaws we place it in one of the sevral bins always laying around and place that bin number on it’s tag and in SixBit.
We used to take our laptop into the garage storage and as I placed items into the Bins that I found partially full I would just call out the BIN number to Susan and she would enter into the computer [back then it was the WonderLister App]. Now I found it easier to just pull and almost emty bin off the shelf and up to the office to “RE-LOAD” [so to speak], with new items. When full just take it down and place it back on the shelf.
Of course as I said we also always have 3 to 5 totally empty bins either with new numbers or ones we have emptied up or condensed. Only trouble is when we condense you do have to enter the new bin we placed a few in on the software. So rather than condensing, I just wait until the BINS are down to 1 or 2 items and pull it on up to the office to re-fill.
I can tell that Jay and Ryanne are on the right track. You can hear their brains churning as they are now thinking it through. From all these comments they can and will pull enough data to make sense for them and create a good system that will allow anybody to go and pull items for them
And yeah, we all have been waiting for them to jump on the band wagon.
If they do start cross posting, then having a dash -and an extra letter for the platform they post on will help. Troy aka “T-Satt” does this, M for Marcari, P for Poshmark “Et” for Etsy [I think]. But this way they will be able to hopefully use InkFrog [their 3rd party Listing App of choice] filter their complete inventory by date [for aging stuff], by shelf location and for things listed on various platforms.
Once a system is in place, then the “FILTER” functions opens up a whole world of different ways to look at and analyze your data.
mike at MDC Concepts, Inc.
10/21/2019 at 11:45 am #69371
One other comment/recommendation, you need to randomize your inventory as much as possible.
When I first started in shoes I did what you guys did – I kept dark mens shoes with other dark mens shoes, etc. Ugh…that sucked to deal with when pulling items to ship. They’re all black and they all look the same! Same story on jeans.
Your clothing should be completely intermingled and sectioned off to where you have to consider 20 items at the most by inventory number/location. If you go to bin B1 that is full of 20 pieces of clothes to find a pair of jeans, then at most you only have 2-3 pair of jeans to consider in that bin. It makes life sooooo much easier.
I typically keep shoes together and clothes together. I don’t like combining clothes with other things as it is not efficient space wise. With shoes, ever bin has an assortment of large boots, normal size shoes, and small heels & flats. If I list two very similar items, I will make sure they go in different bins so I won’t ever pull the wrong item when one sells.
10/21/2019 at 10:45 am #69368TimoParticipant
- Location: Metro Atlanta
I use Sixbit and am trying to grow my store. Sixbit has a really basic location field that works for me. And the default SKU scheme is also pretty basic but it also works for me as well.
Over the years, I have been ‘self-diagnosed’ as a ‘compartmentalist’. I don’t need to recall all the details about anything, just where it is stored or filed, etc. In scavenger terms this translates to: which bin, box or shelf.
Some suggest using the eBay Custom label (SKU) field to hold your inventory location, etc. Wow. Not me. After all the debacles that eBay has, why store all your Storage location info with eBay online? Keep this under your own control in an applications where you can make backups (Sixbit, Excel, etc.)
Country Lane: Thanks for your input and pics above in this thread.
MDC Galleries: Thanks for the embedded SKU and custom item specifics info techniques above.
gfd_622: Thanks for your comments in a similar thread here on SL. For those interested in improving their inventory system, check this thread.
btw, Country Lane & gfd_622: I was born a Hoosier.
Jay & Ryanne : Thanks again for the podcasts & forum.
10/21/2019 at 11:34 am #69369DoublythumbsParticipant
- Location: Hopedale, OH
Oct 13 – 19
Total Items in Store: 2592
Items Sold: 17
Total Sales : $498
* Below yearly average of $948
Highest Price: $150 (Dallmeyer 20mm C-Mount Camera Lens)
Average Price: $29
Cost of Goods Sold: $31
Costs of Goods Purchased this Week: $568
Number of New Items Listed this Week: 30
It’s been a very soft week on my end, so I was surprised to see that I made almost $500 in sales. Good, not great, but I can live with it. I’ve been slow to list last week as well. I pumped out a bunch of winter clothing and coats which brings me no joy at all to photograph and list, so at least I’ve got all that out of the way. I’ll be happy to get back to random hard goods which make up 90% of my store.
I don’t envy your upcoming inventory task at all. I would absolutely dread having to set up an inventory system from scratch with my current store, and yours is 4 times as large. I hope it goes easy for you! What I’ve done from almost the start goes like this: every item that I buy, whether from auctions or thrift stores or whatever, goes into a spreadsheet as soon as I bring it home. Then it goes into the “To List” room. I’ll work on listing in order chronologically from purchase date (unless there’s a holiday or season coming up such as for Christmas items). Whenever I’m done listing a small pile, I’ll put them in bins which I’ve labeled with a marker “AA”, “AB”, etc. and that goes right in the spreadsheet. Larger stuff I just label “Out” but it’s easy to find usually. Clothing is easy for me since I rarely buy and sell it, but your idea about storing it in alphabetical order by brand is what I would do too.
My scavenge of the week came from an auction that we went to on Saturday. It was very chaotic and I think I overspent on some things, but I did score some almost new Chanel and Revillon perfume that I can probably resell for $100 or so each. I also got a box full of designer sunglasses and eyeglasses for pretty cheap which may earn me back the total that I spent there.
10/21/2019 at 12:41 pm #69379djhatchParticipant
- Location: Buffalo, NY
Jay and Ryanne,
If you haven’t 100% decided on your inventory system, you might want to check out Lavendar Clothesline’s video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z9Wb2ugv3k
At Around 10:00, she talks about how her system helps her find items that may be misplaced – and avoids the need for having to double-check SKUs.
10/22/2019 at 7:31 am #69409
Her life would be much easier if she assigned bin numbers to her totes and racks on top of what she already has. I lol’ed when she couldn’t find the pink dish. I gasped in horror when she opened the door to the room completely filled with uninventoried listed items. Her system may work for her, but it is not a great system anyone should model off of.
10/21/2019 at 12:52 pm #69382WallabeeParticipant
- Location: Minnesota
I have 1000+ items in my store. My first area is numbered boxes, 1-20. When I am listing, I first check which boxes have room in them and then put the box number in the description. These are items that fit in a box and are not too fragile. I throw them in a padded mailer if there is any problem about scratching.
Second area is flats: Flats #1, 2, 3, etc. They are plastic bins. Small flats boxes go the short way and larger flats boxes go the long way.Saves a lot of room. These are framed pictures and anything else flat. I put cardboard between each one.
Third, is breakables. They go on open shelves. I don’t have so many that I can’t find things, but LIKE with LIKE is all I can say.
Fourth: Large metal item: tackle boxes, coffee pots, crates, suitcases etc. go up above in my garden shed. I just write Shed at the end of the description
Fifth: Smalls. I have drawers in my office for smalls. Small #1, 2, 3 etc.You can’t find smalls if they are mixed with large stuff.
Games/model kits: Shelves in my office
Hats: one box in garage for caps and one shelf in house for fragile ones
Jewelry: a drawer in my office
Silverware: drawers in my office
Paper: drawers in my office
10/21/2019 at 1:28 pm #69386SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
I started once trying to label bins and start an inventory system, but never stuck with it. This week, I couldn’t find a jacket that had sold. Looked everywhere at least three times. Then, I couldn’t find a cardigan sweater. I figured I had donated a bag of listed clothing by mistake. I filtered my listings by date to see what else I might have donated, and I saw those two items right above a bunch of costumes. So, I go look in the bin that was supposed to be only costumes, and, yeh, there they were. The jacket was already canceled, oh well.
So, I’ll skip on the inventory discussion. Don’t take advice from me!!
On another note, my sales didn’t seem to be affected by all the eBay issues going on. Not sure why. I even had a few clothing items sell after all the problems started to show up.
Week of Oct 13 – 19
* Total Items in Store: 1486 eBay, 37 Etsy
* Items Sold: 21
* Cost of Items Sold: $32.17 + $4 Commission
* Total Sales: $393.05
* Highest Price Sold: $60 Vintage 1980s GE toaster
* Average Price Sold: $18.72
* Returns: 0 (1 Cancel – removed from the numbers & 1 NPB)
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $45ish
* Number of items listed this week: 47
A few interesting things to mention:
I decided that I wanted to get rid of a large inventory of new pants I had bought at a liquidation auction. I had sold maybe a dozen or so over a year or more, and several were returned for fit. On Monday, I took them to a “drive-up” auction. This auction is set up so that you arrange your wares and an auctioneer walks around and sells it off. I didn’t understand the whole setup, so I came late and was the last one he came to. One guy said he would buy it, but he needed me to drive it over the next day. He lived one town over, so no problem. I made a measly $10 from the bid, and the buyer gave me another $10 to add some of his other stuff to the load. I didn’t pay that much for the pants, so I might be just even in the end. I’ll use GoDaddy to figure out what COGS I haven’t accounted for yet and put that in as a loss. What I gained was shelf space, YAY!
In other news, I listed a bunch of my whiskey pitchers on Etsy. I’ve been ignoring that site because eBay is my main focus, and I just want to list. However, I already have over 35 pitchers & bottles listed there and I wanted to spread them out. The rest of the pitchers will go to storage until enough are sold off (could be a year or more).
Lastly, I told my husband about a car-related auction (happened yesterday), and he found some strut compressors that he wanted in the online photos, so we went. He would point out a box he found interesting and how much he would pay for it, and then I did the bidding. I did get him the compressors along with a bunch of other stuff, some that he will keep and some that I will sell. The really great thing about it was that he met some of the people & auctioneers I talk about, and he experienced the dynamic. I was fun to rehash everything, and he seemed more interested in what happens when I go to all these auctions. It was just a great experience to share that with him.
10/21/2019 at 1:43 pm #69387
So I hear everyone who says to not rely on the adding the inventory location in the custom SKU field on eBay because it’s been erased during updates.
Is it safe to add the inventory location code in the description of the item?
10/21/2019 at 1:58 pm #69388
To my knowledge the Custom SKU has never been erased. I’ve been using it for almost 4 years and there hasn’t been a single issue. The fear is that with their dismal track record, it is just a matter of time ebay screws it up.
You could put the SKU in the listing as well, but if you change the location of the item you would have to update the SKU and the description.
10/21/2019 at 2:54 pm #69389
We have our SKU in 3 places.. In SixBit it is in the SKU field BUT that is autoloaded into the Ebay Custom Field. So yes, once into the custom field, then we also made a custom Item Specific Field, so our sku shows up as the last ine in the IS area and then in SixBit I dropped in a line of code in the description area and when we post to Ebay or Etsy the custom IS shows as the last line in the description area.
Now that you know our long code, go to our Ebay site and look at the last line of the IS and the description area and you can see it in the public view and of course the custom field is not published by Ebay.
That way if you guys are away and you sold a few things you wanted your helper to go pull, she would not need to go to your office and fireup a computer or hers. All she would have to do is go into your storage area and look at her phone and click on see the item specifics and she would see the SKU there and also in the See More area on the phone which is actually the description area.
I don’t even need SixBit open or available to be able to see where an item is, what we paid for it and when we bought it. Helps me take or reject offers out on the road in almost a few seconds. All of that is embedded into the long SKU number and scrambled with the extra “camouflage digits” we throw into the string of numbers.
Try it. Go to our store and sort by newly listed. Then look at the last line of Item Specifics and also the description. Then reference what I said above on how to read [interpret / decode] it you will see the item number, skip 2 spaces, what we paid, skip 2 spaces then comes the date we bought, then g and then the bin number. Everything you need to store, locate, pull, make a decision on taking an offer, give directions to someone when you are away or for them to see it for themselves.
Viola’ a complete “mini-listing inventory system within itself” all contained within one long sku number.
By the way if you ever want to go to a printed SKU tag and print your own bar codes on stickers or tags and have a helper use a bar code reader, by using the longer 23 character number string or 19 if you remove the 4 camouflage numbers it will work and if you use the CODE 128 UPC Coding you can have up to 128 characters, numbers and symbols all intermixed that will translate into a bar code.
But that is for larger companies that have to store and warehouse a ton of parts and pieces. We did so to fill the advertising “kits” we did for our larger customers I have mentioned before.
But on a small scale, still have your brain “think” like that. Numerically, chronologically, alphabetically and most of all systematically.
Thinking ahead now will save you from having to “RE_DO” your system later for some reason. I re-worked our system a couple of times way back when we first started the antique booths and eventually derived a system that I knew would work years down the road later when we would finally go online.
Good luck guys, this can really get your head spinning and you better make sure that InkFrog is going to be your 3rd party listing and Inventory Control Program. I went from an Excel spread sheet, to Easy Auction Tracker, then to WonderLister then Finally to SixBit. And i discovered as I scaled and expanded each time, there was something my current system was either lacking or was slow at. By going to more “robust” programs as we grew I wished I had gone ahead and went with the higher end, more complex system in the very beginning.
If you ever want to change from InkFrog to something else, make sure you will be able to Export into a .CSV file and re-import back into your newer program with ease.
SixBit had a heck of a time bringing in WonderLister and even when it was also posted on Ebay at the time. Still to this day I have 84 listings “floating” in our inventory system with odd sku numbers that scrambled. I just happen to know those and where they are by referencing my old spread sheet luckily.
Oh, that also brings up the point. Always back up your database and also export it periodically into an .CSV format and bring it into Excel or whatever work around the MacWorld people have to use. think it is “Polaris Office Suite”. But it is good to always have a fairly current version of your whole database, all fields, in a spread sheet format. If InkFrog goes out of business or you ever want to change, then importing in from that .CSV file will be better.
mike at MDC Galleries in Atl.
10/21/2019 at 3:07 pm #69390
And Jay.. Yes and as you stated, you did it “back ass backwards”, but friend, look at the success you still have had, using your and Ryanne’s memory. So kudo’s to you both. 🙂
But now is the point where you want someone else to pull and pack for you, so you are going to have to put in the time on the “back end to save time later on still the back end”. Some of us put in time on the “front end” when we were and or are still small sellers but we can scale with speed if we want or need to now on the back end.
Still while we were creating spread sheets and systems, you guys were creating money. Seems to have worked well for you from what I can see! 🙂
mike at MDCGFA
10/21/2019 at 3:50 pm #69391
If you asked us 11 years ago that we were going to build a life selling junk online and have people listening to our process each week, I would have said you were nuts.
We didnt even think of doing an inventory system. Just not on our radar.
10/21/2019 at 3:55 pm #69392chaoticgoodParticipant
- Location: Kansas City, MO
Thanks for all the inventorying insight. It’s something I’ve not dealt with, but know I will have to as I grow my stores and share the load with my husband.
AND SUPER DUPER thanks for mentioning my comment on the podcast. That was so fun to hear my name and comment about “you are not your customer” and searching for sold comps.
Items Sold: 16 (11 Ebay, 3 Mercari, 2 Poshmark)
Total Sales: $ 308.xx before fees, after shipping
Items listed: 15 (Uh-oh, more going out than coming in). At least one listing covers 7 items.
3-book bundle on Mercari at near asking price for $90
3 boxes of vintage pencils to the same buyer for a total of $84
A set of Pottery Barn Avengers figures, going to Austrailia
Lot of fly fishing boxes that are taking up too much space. I wasn’t sure if they would get any interest, but they sold within a few days!
I am also appreciating these items I have multiples of. One listing and photo shoot, and I can get multiple sales out of it. I’m almost out of my Navy hats (Garrison caps). I love that the shipping is usually already figured out and I can crosspost from Ebay to Mercari and Poshmark without worrying about competing sales.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by chaoticgood.
10/21/2019 at 4:26 pm #69394almastyParticipant
Depending on what your shelving system is like, it doesn’t matter if mugs are on 1 shelf, shoes on another. If your shelving units are orderly and in a row like bookcases, you can just label each shelf and be done with it. Shelf 1, Shelf 2, Shelf 3. No need to do Shelf 1A, Shelf 1B. No need to have the bookcase be 1 entire unit. Just make sure they are all clearly labelled. What you will want to do is label bins on shelves. That’s where you would get Shelf 1A, Shelf 1B. You could end up with hundreds of shelves, but you would just label them “Shelf 100, Shelf 120.”
I have always listed the shelf location directly in the listing for both Amazon and Ebay. I don’t trust private fields on any of the listing services I use, including Ebay. With 32,000 items currently listed between both sites (ugh), I need to be super organized in order to do quick pulls each morning (or twice a day, depending on how busy it is or how busy I am the next day).
I keep smaller paper items in bankers boxes. I can get 50+ envelopes of postcards in a bankers box. Each envelope contains 30-50 postcards. I label the envelope with both the name of the envelope & the name of the box. That way, I only have to go through 50 postcards instead of thousands. If you have delicate paper items listed, I would recommend creating a labelling system for them as well, and creating a safe storage environment so they will not get damaged while an employee is digging through the box in order to find it. It will also cut down on the amount of time searching through a box with items like that.
In 1 of my listed storage areas for Ebay stock, I have random items from store #2 (vintage toys, nib items, etc,.) just labelled in boxes next to other boxes of items from my niche. With my numbering system, you would not be able to tell that 1 box has toys while another box has niche items. Like shelves, I just label them Box #1, Box #2. Just boring labels. You don’t need to do any fancy Amazon like SKU systems in order to get organized, and sometimes doing #516918 sort of labelling is just unnecessarily complicated and unnecessary.
Also, when you’re listing using your new inventory system, I highly recommend keeping a sticky note (physical or mac) of what shelf you’re listing on. I can’t count the number of times I have said “I’m going to list here,” and then by the time I sit down to list, I completely forget what shelf I’m going to list on.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by almasty.
10/21/2019 at 11:54 pm #69403mickdogParticipant
- Location: Portland, OR
I’m going to make a quick suggestion, but before I do I will state that I don’t have an inventory system yet for my 850 listing store, and probably should. However I’ve made other inventory and sku-like systems before for personal and work use and I wanted to chime in.
My suggestion is to make a very generic numbering system that can be easily adapted in future for any storage configuration and have a master list taped up in your storage building for your helpers.
Example: Label everything in a XXX.XX system. Each 3-digit number corresponds to a region in your building or a type of storage. If you need subdivision, use the 2-digit number (like for bags like Ryanne was talking about.
So 100.00-199.00 is one category of storage – say your shelving. Maybe you have only 24 shelves so those numbers are 101.00 to 124.00. On a master list you write 100-199 codes = Shelves.
Maybe 200.00 – 299.00 are bins, do the same thing. If bin 205 has three bags in it with smaller items you skew it 205.01, 205.02, 205.03 on the bags and 205 or 205.00 on the outside of the bin. On your master list you write 200 -299 codes = Bins.
And so on (Maybe clothes racks are 300s, artwork is 400s, etc). They beauty of this is if you change your storage system you can update easily. For example let’s suppose you want to convert all your shelves to bin storage. Your 101 shelf becomes a 101 bin. If you need more than one bin for the stuff on that shelf, now you make the outside of the new bins 101.10, 101.20, etc. (up to 9 bins). You can then still put bags in them (up to 9 in each) and have 101.11 be one bag, 101.12 be another. On your master list you now write 100-299 codes = Bins. Your helper locates general area where the bins are, the specific bin/shelf/rack/jewelry box/whatever and if needed, drills down to the specific bag to find the item.
This gives you maximum flexibility, a master list you only have to update when you change systems, and you don’t have to change skus if you go from shelf quadrant 1, shelf 5 which is code Q1Sh5 to a bin system that would be sku bin119.
Hope that makes sense and is helpful to think about.
10/22/2019 at 11:22 am #69430So Cal JoeParticipant
Wow, this inventory thing has become a hot topic.
I don’t think there’s any right or wrong answer. But I do feel that the wrong inventory system is the one that is so complicated that one suffers paralysis from analysis and never gets it started.
That being said, mine is very basic. The item location is very simple and means nothing except for the item location. B10 is a great example. I also try to include a letter in the location, so it is easy to search for in the computer, if I need to.
If I want to see what’s in a bin, I merely search my items by description field and enter the storage location code. I end up with a list of all the items in that bin.
I have items in bins, on book shelves and in individual drawers. Each of those is labeled and every item has a location code.
I simply place the location code in the item description. I have no other backup, so if Ebay ever erases my descriptions, I’m in trouble.
I have a roll of wide masking tape and a sharpie I use for labeling the bins. Sometimes I’ll put a piece of clear packing tape over the label to help secure it.
Any item can be in any location, so I am vigilant in making sure the inventory system is properly maintained. If I remove an item and forget where it came from, I look it up, before putting it back.
If a bin, starts to get empty, I put a small piece of masking tape on the outside, so I can fill it later.
Before I moved, I had an entire bookcase as an item location. That was not too smart. Now I have a location code for no more than one shelf, and sometimes two on a shelf.
Before I moved, I consolidated my storage and temporarily moved it into a paid storage locker. Later, I moved it into my new house. Along the way, I got lucky, lost nothing and every item shipped on time.
The key is to come up with a system and try not to make it so complicated that you don’t get started. Then start an inventory system with your new items, as you list them. Over time the other items can be put in inventory bin by bin etc.
My hat’s off to Mike and others who have complex SKU systems with multiple redundancy built in. I imagine this becomes more important as you have more people involved with your business and it continues to grow.
I’ll be curious to see what you guys decide on.
10/22/2019 at 11:48 am #69432SimonParticipant
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Thanks for the show this week. I thnk the moral of this week’s show is that when you start to sell on eBay it’s helpful to have some kind of inventory management system from the beginning.
Here are my numbers for this week:
Total Items in Store: 3305
Items Sold: 46
Total Sales: $1029.39
Cost of Items Sold: $142
Average Price Sold: $22.38
Average Cost of Item: $3.09
Highest Price Item Sold: $84.95 Microsoft Zune HD Platinum 32 GB
Number of items listed this week: 52 worth $1089
YTD Sales: $40515
YTD sales compared to this time last year: +9%
Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 424
Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 260
Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 114
Sell-through rate (for the week): 1.39%
Hats sold this week: 28 (60% of sales) worth $461.28 (44% of sales $)
I have a very simple inventory system:
– newly listed items sit in a specific area for a little while until they are put away
– every couple of weeks I copy text off ebay’s active items page (for newly listed items) into notepad/wordpad and I strip out everything except listing titles.
– I paste this list of new item titles into my inventory spreadsheet (along with the date-listed)
– as I put each item away I add a location into my spreadsheet alongside the item title
– when something sells I do a “find” on my spreadsheet of the item title and that’s how I find the location
I don’t have to worry about skus/custom fields etc and I don’t have to update the listing itself with location info. Once in a blue moon I end up with 2 items with the exact same title but I can use the date listed to distinguish between the two.
One other thing I do that might be helpful for some people. I have thousands of hats that are stored in tubs. I organize the hats within those tubs roughly by color so if a red hat in TUB75 sells, I just pull the red hats out of that tub to find the one I’m looking for. (I don’t put different color hats in different tubs, I’m just talking about organization within the tub).
Sell trash. Be free!
10/23/2019 at 10:08 am #69491
This seems really smart. I wouldn’t really want to trust Ebay with a sku or box #. And, you can do a lot of sorting.
10/23/2019 at 11:10 am #69494SimonParticipant
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Having the location outside of the listing itself definitely has some benefits. For example, I can easily find all the items that are supposed to be in particular tub and I can easily consolidate tubs without touching the listings. Also, since I have dozens of similar-sized tubs that only contain hats I have a page in my spreadsheet that shows the number of items in each tub so I can quickly identify which tubs have space for new items.
Every inventory system has pluses and minuses so I guess we all just have to figure out what works best for ourselves. The main things is to have some kind of system.
10/22/2019 at 1:09 pm #69440marylibrarianParticipant
- Location: Missouri Ozarks
Hi – I also sell lots of random items and they were also grouped by type. I would get a bin such as wooden stuff like you were talking about, go to active listings and do a search for wooden and find each item in the bin. Instead of going into each item and adding a SKU just click edit next to the item and choose add a note and add the info. It seemed to save time. When I would add new items I would then put the SKU in the appropriate box. The only down side to the note, is when relisting as similar after 16 months the note vanishes with the old listing, so you need to transfer it to the SKU field.
10/22/2019 at 2:14 pm #69450
Here’s something to think about and a system all of have used effectively at some point in our lives. Very simple on the surface but has very complex under structure to handle almost anything, anywhere and any type. Just substitute the word knowledge with object and a 3, 6 or 9 digit code will work.
That is the Dewey Decimal System. Ever gone to the library, walked up to a card catalog, opened the pull out drawer by an alphabetical listing and found a book you wanted, wrote that number down with the decimals and then proceeded to go and find a single volume of a book in a 200,000 sq. foot library, with hundreds of shelf racks, with thosands of shelves and maybe 100’s of thousands of single volume books.
xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx 12 digits will get you a single item out of every category of knowledge in the world. A single item about Magic Tricks, Magic erasers, Magic Markers, Markers by color, space exploration, philosophy, history, by civil war, north.south.generals., on and on.
So if you know the 9 beginning codes of the DDC ooo.xxx.xxx through 900.xxx.xxx you can create a system to find anything, anywhere, even in multiple locations.
Here is a link to the explanation of the system, which I assume most Librarians must know by heart. So if you have a basic understanding of the sorting and classification of categories I would think you could come up with a way to make a 6 digit system xxx.xxx work for you if you think like Mr. Dewey.
I am sure Jay and Ryanne will figure it all out.
mike at MDC Galleries
Fun thoughts .. 🙂
10/22/2019 at 9:52 pm #69475WBirdParticipant
A system that has worked for me:
Keep similar items together but in coded and labeled bins or areas, for instance Pants go in bins labeled P1, P2, P3… I label the bin “Pants P1.”
I use that code, like P3 as the last word in my ebay title.
Rarely do I mess up a code in my title, but if I do, I will find it eventually if it’s pants in a Pants bin, dress in a Dresses bin, etc.
It takes me only seconds to go straight to the correct area and retrieve my item for shipping. I have other codes like GR for the garage, where I keep furniture, etc.
10/22/2019 at 10:13 pm #69476Marie in FloridaParticipant
It’s been months since I logged in. I’m a small seller aiming at 500 items. This year we had the privilege of taking care of my Mom in her declining health. It was hard, but we were blessed throughout the experience. Nothing has made me love my husband more than seeing his daily assistance with his m-in-law. In late July she passed away.
After working on a lot of stuff from mom, I’m gearing up for 4th quarter and being patient with myself. Sales have been there, but so so. Then I had The Week. Nothing, Nothing, Nothing for 3 days, but the last 4 days! I’ve been cautiously using the one time offer promotion. Sold 4 things that week, all with 10-12% off. $75 for a Mountain Hardwear coat Next a Coogi Sweater for $135 Montgomery Ward Coat for $97. And then the item that I had sky high ala Ryanne. My most expensive item sold for $264. It’s both a reproduction and vintage. Blood Chit jacket style of WW2 But made in the 80s so vintage.
This week was ok $146. But Ebay is not counting half the items that have been sold and shipped. The Sales chart shows nothing that I’ve sold since Friday, either in the total or the graph. Not sure what’s with that.
10/23/2019 at 8:54 am #69490
Glad you guys were ale to take care of your mom for the end. Welcome back.
10/23/2019 at 3:09 am #69479Steve ListParticipant
- Location: Richmond, Calif.
I haven’t made used of the SKU section in my listings, but I do use the add/edit note option to keep track of my inventory. I just have numbered bins and normally it is pretty easy to find an item in them, although the ephemeral bin may take a while sometimes. The only drawback is that I can only search 200 listings at a time if searching through the my note field (by using control f).
10/23/2019 at 8:52 am #69489chaoticgoodParticipant
- Location: Kansas City, MO
J & R, I also had a chuckle at the low, low sale of the Mad Men golf putter return “office accessory.” I, too, acquired one of those in a lot this year. I thought it was so cool and would be a great item for the store…until I checked comps. It went off to the thrift store instead.
10/24/2019 at 9:53 am #69515indomatt239Participant
- Location: Pittsburgh
Just popping in to share my two cents on inventory woes. I too started a SKU system in 2017, when I had about 8,000 active listings in my main store. Rather than backtracking and adding a SKU to each listing, I just moved forward adding the SKU # to each listing. I now have close to 11,000 active listings, and only about 3,500 DON’T have a SKU #. Hopefully by 2021 I’ll be down to 1,000 or so. I’ve programmed myself to recognize that items without SKUs are old and exist in the outdated inventory system inside of my head.
I put the SKU # in BOTH the “Custom” field AND at the very end of the description, that makes it highly unlikely that the wrong SKU# gets entered TWICE (the item is likely found in one of those two bins if there is a problem). In the ultra rare occurrence of the item still not being found, I have successfully found lost items by searching my active listings on Ebay by “date listed”, and looked at other similar items that were listed around the same time. The lost item is always found with one of them.
Overall it was relatively painless…
11/04/2019 at 8:02 am #70000T-SattParticipant
Week of 10/13-10/19
Total Items in Store: 3,278 (Up 17% YOY)
Number of Items Listed: 78
Number of Items Sold: 106 (Up 13% YOY)
(Includes 2 Etsy, 10 Poshmark, 0 Bonanza, 0 TrueGether)
Weekly STR: 14% (Down 1% YOY)
Total Product Sales: $3,332 (Up 15% YOY)
Sales Volume Variance to Prior Year: Up $370
Sales Price Variance to Prior Year: Up $60
Cost of Items Sold: $686
Cost of Labor: $0
Highest Item Sold: $125 – Lucchese Boots
Competition: Highest Priced Sale: Veronica wins the week and Veronica leads for the year 24-19.
11/06/2019 at 10:59 am #70177DealVikingParticipant
- Location: Athens, TN
Jay and Ryanne,
Kinda long and you aren’t wanting this level I know but just some tidbits and maybe for others.
I spent a few years as a Supply Chain Engineer and warehousing was something we were always trying to make more efficient for Million square foot warehouses. It was all racking/shelving in most cases. It was set up on a series of numbers. Isle, Section, Row, Bin. So if you have multiple isles of racking/shelves (left could be isle 1 and across from it would be isle 2), and it was the 1st section of shelves (think Column between posts), an the row is like excel (bottom, middle, or top shelves in that section), then bin (left to right, 1 and 2). If you don’t have multiple isle then drop that number. Make it fit to what you do have.
Isle: The shelving unit on far left starts at 01. Shelves across from it are 02 and so on. Shelf directly behind 2 is 3 and across from 3 is 4.
Section: Shelving between shelf vertical post.
Row: Top, middle, bottom shelf in that shelf section
Bin: How many bins fit in that area. Maybe two totes fit between the shelf posts on that shelf row. Maybe you store as much as you can on one shelf row, loose and not in a tote, and the whole shelf row is a “bin” Then you can drop the bin number.
So, and item on the 1st Isle, 3rd shelf section, middle shelf of three, and two bins fit on a shelf and the item is in the bin on the right?
That’d be number 01030202. That’d tell you it was on the first isle, third section, on the middle shelf and the bin on the right.
03030101 Would be 3rd isle, 3rd shelf section, top shelf, bin on the left
Mine isn’t that complex. I have everything in totes, on shelves. I put a number on the outside of that tote and put everything I can in there as we list. I put that tote number in the custom sku. I go A1 through Z1. Then Start over with A2 through Z2 and so on. All totes get stacked top shelf down. left to right, then move to next shelf section. Top to bottom left to right in alphabetical order of tote and number.
For larger items I stick them randomly on open shelves. For shelves I number it Shelf1, Shelf2, Shelf3 and so on, so I can randomly stack what fits in that area.
Regardless, I know where things generally are and that’s a huge time saver than trying to remember.
Also from the supply chain world, random sorting is the strategy of just putting everything you can in that location, bin, tote. The key to that strategy is it is a space saver. It doesn’t matter what goes in there so long as you maximize space. There isn’t really a reason, outside of your own comfort, to have like items together in that case.
Again from the supply chain world. What happens if you label it wrong? Well this happens even with all corporate inventories. Think about cycle counting? Basically you could use what items are ending that day. Take a handful of them and go verify their location. For 10,000 item inventory maybe you check on 10 a day. That’d be 300 a month and 3,600 items a year you’d verify. Maybe 3 to 5 a day is more manageable. Some companies don’t cycle count. Instead they shut down for 2 or 3 days and take a physical inventory of 80% or so of their inventory. Then correct it in the system.
Just thoughts of how the big boys do it and how you can alter it to fit your needs. I keep it simple. Tote numbers, shelf numbers. Occasionally I miss label, I don’t cycle count or take inventory. If it take a bit longer to find or I have to go digging then fine. I save multitudes more time on all the other listings I have to locate when they sell by having even a simple system.
My wife will create a draft and has the tote beside her where she list. She creates the draft, types in custom sku, in the draft, of the tote letter and number, loads it in tote. Glass/Fragile are bubble wrapped in the tote. Top is put on when full, next tote is brought out and labeled, cycle continues.
Then I dolly them to the storage and put them on a shelf once we have a few totes done.
11/06/2019 at 7:59 pm #70215
You guys sound like a good team. Good to hear how the pros do it.
I keep it simple. Tote numbers, shelf numbers.
Yeah, we’re doing Shelf unit, shelf, tote. So 1-A-001.
Thats really all we need.
For our shelves of glassware, we’ll likely just do Shelf Unit and Shelf.
The glass is somewhere on that one shelf.
11/06/2019 at 8:08 pm #70219intimewithmusicParticipant
- Location: Kelowna, BC Canada
Setting An Askew Record Straight
Hi. My name is Wayne. My new Ebay store is called intimewithmusic. Thank you Jay and Ryanne for letting me be part of this forum. I’m the caller on Episode 434 who offered ideas for an Ebayer’s inventory management system. Inventory is so boring. I know and promise never to bring this up again. You don’t need more input on DIY systems and I’d rather sell stuff but there’s a need for focus as to why a system is relevant to Ebayers. What’s in it for you? I’ll try to add value to the boredom.
Disclaimer: If you have a gazzillion skus of brand new items and restocking them 5 to 10 times a year like Wall-Mart’s “just in time” system you don’t need this. Look away. If you’re a re-seller selling one offs, used items, arts and crafts or, in my case, music industry memorabilia and used music paraphernalia this may motivate you. Be prepared to be amazed. But first I want to dis-spell some rumors I heard in the podcast episodes 434 and 435.
This was my fault. When I gave my experience in “Music Stores” I should have said “Musical Instrument Houses of Terror”. I was referring to large brick & mortar musical instrument retail, manufacturing and repair centers not record stores. These included the largest drum center on the planet and after that my own large retail multi instrumental outlet. Think of Garth playing Stairway to Heaven in the movie “Wayne’s World. I was that. As well as organizing all that stuff we had to do it in a way that guarded it from theft. Over the years I employed over 30 young people. We had thousands of skus including parts, picks, strings, clarinet reeds, pianos, Pa systems, marimbas, ukuleles and monster drum sets. No records. No CDs.
I bring to the table inventory management experience beginning in the 70’s making use of paper ledgers and order pads, then moving it onto DOS floppy disks in the 80’s and over to Windows software in the 90’s. It wasn’t easy. Each transition took preparation but nothing failed. I never had to spend millions of dollars for lack of foresight.
That said I’m a new Ebay store owner. Needs are much different here. I’m also running a construction business so I’m a part time Ebayer awaiting retirement. I expect to make mistakes. I appreciate the tremendous help from experienced Ebay store owners like you. Ebayers are open and generous with assistance. Not so much in than brick and mortar retail.
For my call I tried to answer some basic questions for listeners first. Who am I? What do I bring to the table? What Ebay store do I have that you can look at? With that you can make an informed judgement. Help isn’t an anonymous critic saying “It won’t work for you because this other mega wholesale company (not an Ebay Store) failed in history costing them millions. You’re going to run out of numbers”. That is not relevant to today’s Ebayer inventory needs. Please, let’s be relevant.
WHY DOES AN EBAY SELLER NEED AN INVENTORY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AT ALL?
Truth be known you don’t. You can do fine without one. Jay and Ryanne have done it that way for years. But, suppose… (dream a little)
1. If you ever want to hire staff and you also want more freedom you will need to delegate more than menial chores. I was my own worst enemy as an employer until I found out “a good symphony plays better without the conductor”.
2. Suppose you want to sell your store? I read recently there’s a procedure. Ebay stores can be sold. How attractive is your store to a potential buyer if your “systems” are in your head and you have a mullet like I did?
3. What if something happens to you? If your store is organized your store partner, staff or your heirs can carry it on with revenue coming in yes, like a pipeline Jay. You put stuff in. Money comes out.
4. To get back your life. I’m already saving tons of time and it will compound over time. I only have 100 items so far!
INVENTORY SOUNDS LIKE WORK. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO EBAYERS?
You will decide that based on your system. If you use a sortable prefix (like me) in front of Category Titles IE: 0131 Mens Shoes (01=Clothing 3 = Mens 1 = Shoes) With no extra time spent designing it you get these free benefits.
1. FINDING STUFF! Jay and Ryanne Your staff will find stuff in your storage area instantly if each is clearly marked by category and every item has a sticker on it with it’s sku. But you also get….
2. LISTING STUFF! Time saved finding the proper template for every listing. Name your listing templates with the prefix. IE: 0131 Mens Shoes Template. All the clothing templates will be in one place on your list in order. I have 40 templates that looked like scrambled eggs before. I did this and the entire list opens presorted. When your employee opens it they no longer need to sift through it. Neither do you. All you need to know is the prefix and put a paper category list of prefixes on the desk. Mine’s laminated…Ooooh eh. (That’s Canadian for Ooooh. )
3. STORING STUFF! Time saved shelving listed items. After your helper is done listing every item he/she will know the prefix and YOU marked it on the bin. They can’t return after a 15 minute cell call to a friend and say,”But I couldn’t find a blue Rubbermaid bin with Mighty Mouse tape on it”.
4. REVISING LISTINGS AND PROMOTING OLD STOCK! Time saved finding something in Ebay’s Seller Hub/ Listings. Ebay’s list of all of your inventory will open up every time presorted by category and by sub categories and in the exact order the item was listed. The item at the top of the list is the oldest item. I look through that list a lot. I’m new and consequently revise a lot of listings. Once a month I’m going to use it to send dead stock to a promotion, or once a year or maybe never. But I can. Employees can easily do that without you telling them what’s old and what’s new. Let Ebay tell them. We can get emotionally attached to old inventory. It’s better to let someone else flog it. Let your staff put together your promotions to clear your old stock.
5. YEAR END, MONTH END & WITT’S END REVIEWS! If you have an accounting system that generates Profit & Loss reports you already name your Expense and Income Categories. Adding the prefixes ahead of your current names will auto sort them on your reports. For example “0131 Mens Shoes” will show up on your P & L reports under Clothing and tell you the exact cost of sales and the revenue generated. This is useful for future purchases and direction planning. (Zig Zagging) Your accounting lists now appear in the exact same order as all of your other lists. This is convenient for you, your staff if you grant them access to your numbers, potential buyers of your business and to anyone who may need to step in for you.
WHY YOU WON’T RUN OUT OF NUMBERS
The anonymous caller mentioned “supplier info”. This is irrelevant to most Ebayers except the ones I told at the beginning to look away. If you sell used, small quantities of new, or one offs you aren’t ordering from suppliers. You’re not restocking the same items over and over. You’re not weeding out discontinued new stock and replacing it with the latest hot new stock. In my relatively small brick & mortar operation I was required to update and turn my entire inventory of thousands of skus at least 4 to 6 times a year. That’s lots of banjo bridges. On Ebay I don’t reorder sold items. I only need 6 digits. I chose an extra in case I become Jack Walton. I want to drive an old pickup truck just like him.
WHY THEN WERE THERE DISASTERS IN THE PAST?
Remember the Y2K Global computer scare? The science and media predicted everyone’s computers would fail because someone forgot to build a year past 1999 into their digital clocks? Did it happen? No.. I never ran out of numbers in the 20 years I had the store.
It was hard to have foresight In the 70’s 80’s and early 90’s. Manufacturers, wholesalers and very large retailers had huge investments in computers the size of school buses housed in air conditioned rooms. That was the highest state of technology. I was given tours by wholesalers who were so proud of them. Within a decade, due to tech advancements they had to reconfigure their systems, junk the whirring tape monsters and string desktops, DOS software and complex networks from one end of the country to the other. They were busy. This was a time when competition was fierce. Retailers were struggling to quickly order and restock products. Wholesalers were struggling to get items fast enough from manufacturers. I had to order my Christmas instruments from Yamaha in July or I wouldn’t get anything. Try predicting all of your fourth quarter sales in July. Us small guys also had to reconfigure our inventories from DOS to Windows based software. Some used Linux. Compared to the wholesalers and distributors it was a piece of cake. My system only cost $1500 with only my labor to reconfigure it. Compared to 2019 in 1995 even the then new and amazing Windows 95 and other commercial software were barely capable of managing inventory. Programs weren’t designed with an infinite amount of numbers. The real “Inventory Woes” were born by the big guys like the anonymous caller is referring to. They were too busy competing to have foresight resulting in too much money invested in obsolescence. They couldn’t zig and zag like we could. I was using “Framework” a $400 program. I designed it to manage the entire store inventory because I could configure it completely. That was the problem. It was so complicated I was the only one who could use it so it didn’t work at the point of sale. (“Framework” was the predecessor to “Excel”). Finally I was able to get our stuff off of that and put it on “Simply Accounting” at a cost of $150. All my staff could use it at the counter. We threw away our cash register and I was rewarded with time. That program is called “Sage” today. Meanwhile the big guy’s multi million dollar systems were continuing to fail. The media was full of finger pointing and lawsuits. As a small seller you have the flexibility to zig and zag. The big guns don’t. They continue to make big system boo boos. In 2012 Hershey’s mismanagement caused $100 million in candy to not arrive on time for Halloween. In 2015 Target’s Barbie bar codes didn’t match their internal skus costing them a fortune. They went out of business in Canada. Nike, Best Buy and Ralph Lauren all have had mega million dollar inventory mishaps.
With all due respect to the “Anonymous Caller” of Episode 435 let’s say, for the sake of argument, his prophesy comes true and I DO run out of numbers. I hope so. That could only happen if I’m stocking 10,000 skus and turning them so frequently similar to a 7/11. Heck, I’ll be able to get that truck!
As Ebay sellers who “run out of number” you and I can do something Wal-Mart, Target, K Mart and the gentleman’s wholesale company couldn’t do. We can simply open up another Ebay store for $20 a month and list another 10,000 items. It seems like pretty low overhead to me. Wayne at ITWM
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