12/13/2020 at 2:34 pm #84245RyanneKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
Check out our coffee! ► broadporch.coffee Join the conversation in the forum>> Our Store Week December 6-12, 2020 Total Items in Store: 7704 I
[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 492: Unprecedented USPS Insanity]
12/14/2020 at 12:20 am #84262simplicioParticipant
I’m glad you mentioned the USPS delays. I had noticed things were bad going to the states but didn’t realize it was “a thing,” as the kids say.
Had a decent week on ebay.
Sales: CAD$2357, 14 sales, COGS: $184, Fees: ~$327, Postage: $317 –> Gross profit: $1529
Expenses: $303, New inventory: $582 –> Cashflow: $828
Best sale was a motor shaft for $450, think I bought it for $50 on ebay.
12/14/2020 at 10:40 pm #84310jchi680Participant
- Location: Midwest
Hey Simplicio, eventually a goal of mine would be to get into industrial stuff to sell. I’ve done the research on sites to find the auctions etc. I’m wondering
1) When bidding what amount of profit either %, x ____, or something else do you shoot for?
2) It seems that the sales you have to be patient and come in waves, is that true in Canada as well (I’m U.S. based)
3) Any advice for breaking into industrial once I have enough money to do so?
12/14/2020 at 11:52 pm #84311simplicioParticipant
I think it is less different from any other category than you might think. I usually aim for 1/5 to 1/10 of final sale price depending on popularity, which is the same as what I aimed for when thrifting.
The kind of stuff I buy is similar to the vintage stuff J&R buy inasmuch as it’s long tail stuff – which is basically the source of the profit opportunity. So yeah, it’s buy and hold for sure (with the added bonus that it tends to be big). And if you are relying on higher dollar items your week to week numbers are more variable than if you do more volume.
If you want to break in I suggest finding a “miscellaneous lot of so-and-so” with lots of weird junk in it, often these can be found at auction for relatively cheap. Processing these miscellaneous lots is a great education in what is and is not worth bothering with. Good luck! 🙂
12/14/2020 at 1:48 am #84263
Thanks for this week’s podcast.
Here are my numbers for the week:
Total Items in Store: 4338
Items Sold: 56
Total Sales: $1605.47
Cost of Items Sold: $307
Average Price Sold: $28.67
Average Cost of Item: $5.49
Highest Price Item Sold: $199.95 TASCAM 8 Track Mixing Console
Number of items listed this week: 71
Sales were slow mid-week but I had a couple of high-value sales and then a rush of sales at the end of the week which boosted my sales 20% above this time last year.
So far, (knock on wood), I’ve been pretty lucky with the USPS shipping debacle. I’ve had one package that entered limbo-land. Murphy’s law, meant that it was a a $100 musical program (rather than one of the many cheap hats I ship). The buyer was very patient but after 10 days without any tracking updates, I issued a refund.
The only thing I find slightly annoying about this shipping slowdown is that the USPS jacked up the prices temporarily. Wasn’t that increase designed to assist with the expected crunch?
On a more positive note, is anyone else enjoying the subtle, but helpful change in the single-label shipping flow on ebay? When I press the button to create a shipping label, I’m now seeing the print options come up immediately (instead of having to click and print button, see the label and printing the pdf print button). It saves a couple of clicks which is nice since I go through that flow numerous times each day.
12/14/2020 at 5:17 am #84265Antique FrogParticipant
- Location: Leicester
eBay’s started sticking a code (like EBAYK3ZRQT9 (changed to protect the innocent)) between the buyer’s street address and the town. Don’t know what the purpose of that is, but I edit the label to move it somewhere else where it’s not going to confuse the posty.
At least they’ve started auto-formatting the buyer’s address, with the name neatly capitalised and the address all in block capitals and spaced properly.
12/17/2020 at 7:44 pm #84417Steve ListParticipant
- Location: Richmond, Calif.
Simon: As for the new eBay shipping feature with the the label and printing options automatically opening up after the button is clicked to purchase the label, for me it is a glitch. Two PDF copies of the label open up and when I try and click print from the printing option box that also popped up, only a blank page prints. I have to close the extra PDF copy and the printing option box and then I can do a file/print of control P to open a new printing option box to print it out. This may be a problem with my computer as I am using the Firefox browser on a Ubuntu system. I haven’t complained to eBay about it as it is an easy work around.
12/14/2020 at 9:25 am #84270
Items in Store 1437
Items Sold 33
Total Sales $1,423.00
Total Profit $1,296.00
Average profit $39.27
Average sales price $43.12
New Listings 5
Had some big ticket sales this week that boosted numbers. Yay! Listing time was cut short as the honey-do list took precedence this week. I have a 2 week vacation coming to finish the year and it really sucks that we can’t travel for it. I suppose I’ll get some listing done during that time.
12/14/2020 at 10:17 am #84273tam from Tam’s Vintage & MoreParticipant
Good morning everyone, postal worker Tam here. I haven’t listened to the pod yet, I usually do it at work on my monday which is tuesday. We are looking terrible here in Ill. We filled up with mail during the pandemic so much that there were barely aisles for the tractors and forklifts to get thru to move the mail. It sat for months (don’t get me started on the smell) as a lot of flights were canceled. We were able to get a bit caught up starting around August. We aren’t quite at the height of the pandemic levels but it is pretty piled up. We are rerouting and adding trucks and trips where we can. We are still having a lot of sickness (and more than a few deaths 🙁 ) so we are short staffed… I never thought I would say or do this but we have been shipping a lot with Fed Ex and UPS and I suggest you do the same if you can.
12/14/2020 at 11:01 am #84278
Tam, Thank you for your post. I really feel for the USPS workers this season
I have a question maybe you can answer. I often leave smaller packages for my postal carrier to pick up but I feel guilty doing so during the holidays when I know they are probably behind. Do you know, are postal carriers annoyed/overwhelmed when they have to pick up packages along their route during the holidays?
12/14/2020 at 11:21 am #84280
I always look at their tiny little trucks and think “No way am I burdening them with picking up all my packages.
It is sad that USPS hasn’t upgraded any of their trucks to adapt to high volume package delivery. I don’t know how they manage it. I see a USPS truck every single Sunday around my neighborhood delivering packages. That is NOT cost effective at all.
12/14/2020 at 12:17 pm #84284
I usually leave a few that fit in my mailbox for the postal carrier to pick up. Any more than 4 packages, I’ll just take them to the post office. If any are too big for the mailbox, I take them all to the post office. But this time of year I don’t know if I should even be putting out the small packages on days when there are only 2 or 3.
12/15/2020 at 11:02 pm #84356
12/15/2020 at 12:11 pm #84334
@julie-b I have the same question! My carrier has been an absolute champion this year, and I sometimes feel bad for scheduling pickups, too. I’d love some insider intel on this; I really appreciate all she does! Sometimes on Monday or Tuesday I have a ton of packages for pickup, but I kind of feel bad about that, too! I like I don’t want to be overwhelming to her, but I also don’t want her to have to bother with a pickup if it’s only a couple of things.
12/15/2020 at 11:06 pm #84357
@annaesthetic23 now that I dont have a 9-5 job I’ve been taking large loads of packages directly to the post office. I only schedule pickups when I expect that I’ll only have a couple of packages because of the reasons @julie-b mentioned.
I used to drive around my neighborhood dropping my small packages in all the neighborhood curbside bins to avoid scheduling pickups but my mail carrier told me it was easier for him to just pick them up from my house (as my packages were blocking mail).
12/14/2020 at 11:44 am #84283TimoParticipant
- Location: Metro Atlanta
J&R thanks for the shout-out on the podcast.
We used PirateShip today to send a priority package to relative. It is not a cubic rate package, but since I already have an account with PirateShip, this is one easy way to get a Priority label at a great price.
I agree with your analysis that PirateShip makes money by marking up a wholesale rate from USPS. And, eBay does the same thing.
In fact, shipping labels is a profit center for eBay. If you are not TRS on eBay the labels cost even more. So eBay must be making out on those.
12/14/2020 at 12:39 pm #84286PDX_CyndyParticipant
An online retailer I order from occasionally had this message in their latest e-mail:
“The wonderful vaccine distribution news suggests that we might save up to 15,000 lives of front-line workers, residents of nursing homes, etc., due to this first wave of inoculations. UPS and FedEx have committed tremendous resources to delivering this vaccine, which requires extraordinarily cold temperatures during transport. The two shipping giants have teamed up to cover the country with each handling the delivery of ~8 million doses.
To make room for this volume, they have shut off package pickup and delivery from many top-10 online retailers. These retailers were forced to dump their packages on the Post Office, which is currently not equipped to deal with the volume.
Direct mail analysts are predicting up to 700,000,000 ordinary packages will not be delivered by Christmas as a result of the vaccine commitment and cascading consequences. Wow.”
So apparently the vaccine is another factor in the shipping issues.
12/14/2020 at 1:42 pm #84290SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
I also have one of those buyers who is anxious about a late delivery. She keeps messaging me every day about the late shipment. Nothing nasty; just annoying. I first messaged her about how USPS was experiencing delays, then I told her I opened an inquiry, and then I messaged her that a USPS employee called from her local facility and explained how their sorting facilities were swamped or closed down due to lack of personnel. But, she keeps messaging me every day “my item still hasn’t arrived”. Today, I just said something like “Please read my last message. There isn’t anything more I can do at this point”. I think I will just copy and paste the same message when I get another message tomorrow (unless I see movement in tracking).
Week of Dec 6 – 12
Total Items in Store: 1436 eBay, 27 Etsy
Items Sold: 20 eBay, 4 Etsy
Cost of Items Sold: $17.20 + $43 Commission
Total Sales: $417.47 eBay, $115 Etsy
Highest Price Sold: $46 Vintage Knox hat on eBay; Vintage Glenfarclas whiskey pitcher on Etsy
Average price: $22.20
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $81
Number of items listed this week: 24
Decently strong week, and four items sold on Etsy, which is a record for me. I should list a few more things there.
I’m not really sourcing right now. My garage is filled with stuff, but I want to be able to park there. I did buy some of the soaps Dan posted about a few days ago. Since biting insects seem to have some kind of natural attraction to me, I have an interest in a natural product that will help to ease the itching. I’ll save a few for me and sell the rest.
12/14/2020 at 5:05 pm #84295
Total Items In Store: 2283
Items Sold: 71
Gross Sales: $1988
Highest Price Sold: $105 (Wolverine film to digital converter)
Average Price Sold: $28.00
Returns: 0 $0
Money Spent on New Inventory: $182
Number of items listed: 60
- Had a huge week in sales. Every single day was over $140 and I had two days over $400.
- Last Saturday I had 14 items sell in a single day. That is the most I’ve ever sold in a day. Every item was $35 or less, but still ended up with $286 in sales that day. 71 sales for the week kept me busy shipping…great problem to have.
- January is right around the corner and anticipated slower sales. I’ve started paying January bills this week, in case it’s slower than usual.
- I don’t know how many people are doing this on a regular basis, but I have had huge success with parting out small appliances and other items for parts. Many items can be sold for parts for three times or more than the item can be sold for. Especially heavier items.
- Scavenge of the Week: I picked up a Victorian hat box at an auction that was packed full of new skeins of DMC embroidery thread. Just under 900 total skeins. I got the entire box for $4. I listed them in 5 different lots on Saturday. I got an offer Saturday night for all 5 totaling $177, which I gladly took. My wife took the hat box for her collection of Victorian items. Win/Win! The sale will show in next week’s numbers.
- I saw a few comments about feeling guilty for leaving packages for mail carriers. My mail carrier has become very good friends of ours (we had dinner with her and her husband this weekend). She actually loves her customers that leave packages, as she gets paid a handling fee for every package she scans. The only packages I take to the post office are ones that are very heavy or very bulky that I think will be a pain for her to deal with.
12/15/2020 at 9:04 am #84315
Gargolfer – that’s good to know about the handling fee paid to postal workers. I had heard something once about mailing routes with resellers being “high value” routes but I wasn’t sure why. I think you just explained it. I feel better. 🙂
12/15/2020 at 9:36 am #84316
I asked my carrier about this, but she would neither confirm nor deny. She would just say she is required to pick up things. I took this as a “no”.
Maybe it is a regional thing.
12/15/2020 at 10:31 am #84326
I found a Reddit thread from 5 years ago. According to the thread postal carrier do not get a bonus or handling fee; however, once a year a package count is conducted and the number of packages picked up during that week by Rural Carriers does have an effect on their compensation.
It may also depend on whether it’s a contractor vs postal employee perhaps.
12/15/2020 at 11:17 am #84331
Our carrier is considered a rural route, so maybe that makes a difference. We are in a small town of 1400 people, so she has several towns and the country between them. She tried to get a house that is a couple of blocks from our post office added to her route. They have some type of craft business and ship between 80-150 packages a day this time of year, but the post office wouldn’t let her add them. In our town, if you live within a 4 block radius of the post office, they require you to have a PO box and don’t pick up or deliver your mail.
She is very protective of her “eBay People”. There are 3 or 4 of us on her route and she gets pretty upset if one of the subs misses picking up our packages. It happens once in a while, but it’s pretty rare.
12/15/2020 at 12:14 pm #84335
That is so cool! I also feel better haha.
12/15/2020 at 11:14 pm #84358
I don’t know how many people are doing this on a regular basis, but I have had huge success with parting out small appliances and other items for parts. Many items can be sold for parts for three times or more than the item can be sold for. Especially heavier items.
@gargolfer – yes, this topic has come up a few times. I do it quite often though it’s not a big part of my business. The other day my mother-in-law was going to throw out an old Dyson vacuum cleaner. I grabbed it. I could have got it working but nobody needed an extra vacuum so I pulled it apart and have successfully sold a number of parts. It’s certainly much easier to ship a little piece or part than it is to ship a whole vacuum. Same with things like food processors where the base weighs a ton but the rest of the bits are easy to ship.
12/16/2020 at 8:03 am #84360
We have a broken coffee maker sitting in the middle of our living room that’s been waiting for six months Ryanne to part out! She allergic to throwing anything away that she can make money on.
12/16/2020 at 8:30 am #84362
I’m with you guys on this one. Small appliances, vacuum cleaners and old electronics. Hard to get rid of them when the parts can worth so much and are so easy to ship. I recently had an old Coleman stove that came with a job lot at an auction. I could’ve only gotten about $30 for it, but a single part from it sold right away for $40.
12/14/2020 at 6:14 pm #84297
12/6/20 – 12/12/20
Total Active Items (3 different IDs): 321
Items Sold: 14
Gross Sales not incl shipping: $667.14
Highest Price Sold: (tie) $140 not incl shipping – antique brass bulb horn (going to Switzerland) and a vintage Yugoslavian Mauser bayonet
COGS $161 (not incl family items or consignment)
New Listings: 6
$ Spent on New Inventory: 0
An excellent week. I’ve been bad at letting my inventory drop but at least am dribbling some listings in here and there, and they have been some higher dollar items. My carrier here has said repeatedly that he will take any and all packages I leave – glad to hear he makes money on it.
12/14/2020 at 9:33 pm #84306DoublythumbsParticipant
- Location: Hopedale, OH
Dec 6 – 12
- Total Items in Store: 4,086
- Items Sold: 58
- Total Sales : $1,964
- * ABOVE yearly average of $1,056
- Highest Price: $270 (Pair of Vintage American Frohse Anatomical Charts)
- Average Price: $34
- Returns: 0
- Cost of Goods Sold: $64
- Costs of Goods Purchased this Week: $0
- Number of New Items Listed this Week: 42
A fantastic week of sales over here! I’ve been selling some of the most random stuff, too. A lot of clunky items sold which helps me free up some inventory space.
So far, I’ve been lucky when it comes to shipping. I’ve noticed many items are taking longer than usual, but I haven’t had a single complaint. But now that I’ve put that into writing, I’ll have a whole slew of them I’m sure.
It was a sad day last week when my Sirius radio was shut off. I bought it at a rummage sale for a few bucks and discovered that it was still active. I used it for a year and a half in my car when suddenly it decided to stop working. Now it only wants me to subscribe to their service. They must have finally sent down the kill switch from orbit. I’m hoping one day I’ll find another that still works. It wasn’t perfect, but it was loads better than the normal radio stations.
12/15/2020 at 7:31 am #84314
Ah man that sucks!
I have had a lifetime receiver and boom box in my ebay office for a couple years. I don’t use it all that often so maybe I’m dodging the kill signals. Who knows!
12/14/2020 at 10:31 pm #84309jchi680Participant
- Location: Midwest
Total Items in Store: 381
Items Sold: 8
Total Sales: $150
Cost of Items Sold: $13
Average Price Sold: $18.75
Average Cost of Item: $1.63
The Highest Price Item Sold: $30 Tie between a lot of slot car chassis’ and a Verizon Sonim Phone each for $30
Number of items listed this week: 62
A better sales week this week, up to $800+ for a 90-day total, was at only $200 about a month ago. I was at my parents house as I accidentally sent some auction winnings to theirs. In picking it up, my dad said that he had some slot cars and such from his childhood he was willing to part with, thought I could make a few bucks on them….well turns out I’ll make about $260 or so once everything sells, I’m excited! Getting stuff listed and finally have ramped up my listing and treating it like a full-time job. Honestly I’ve enjoyed it so far and I’m a lot less stressed than teaching.
As for the shipping delays, I’ve sent a message to buyers that says the following that helps and all have been understanding:
Just wanted to let you know that I dropped off your package this afternoon. Over the last couple of weeks tracking, scanning, and mail delivery is slow given both the pandemic and USPS delays with the holidays. I’m keeping an eye on things, be patient and understanding, thanks!
At my post office if it’s prepaid they don’t even let you get a scan receipt so that sucks, I know it’s not the case with every post office though I’m in a huge city. Last week I had set up a package pickup, and they never came, not sure why but guess I’ll walk the .5 miles to the post-office. Asking for a grocery cart thing for X-Mas for packages and trudging groceries instead of having to Uber back.
Finally, I bought a lot of 100 or so foreign beer cans, I’m considering listing them individually starting at $0.99 just to see what I can get gone quick. I have 250 free auction listings to use up by the end of the month. Also going to change to Wave from Go-Daddy later this week. Switched to Managed Payments also and waiting for the payment but like it so far. Sorry for this being so long!
12/15/2020 at 9:45 am #84318
Can we get frequent flyer miles for a package? A package I sent out priority for shipment from Maryland to Road Island has taken the long route. It arrived in RI in two days, but has since detoured through CT, NJ, KS and now NE. Seven days into its 2 day journey and it keeps getting farther away. Waiting for a call back from USPS, though not a lot of expectations at this point. At least the customer is being reasonable and doesn’t blame me, yet. I had made it through the season relatively unscathed in the shipping hell and was feeling lucky.
12/15/2020 at 10:37 am #84328
My USPS carrier mentioned a few years ago that he gets “credit” for packages and he encouraged me to let him pick them up rather than deliver them to the office. That said, he is often away, and the subs frequently don’t pick up my outgoing packages (happens at least once a month). Because of that, I will regularly take large numbers to the local PO to ensure they all get picked up and scanned.
12/17/2020 at 6:43 pm #84416plum-numbParticipant
- Location: Wild & Wonderful Wadsworth, OH
FYI, You can request parcel collections on USPS.com the evening before pick up is required. Not that you would want to now, but maybe in a few months. They never missed a pickup for me in all of 2019-20.
12/15/2020 at 12:22 pm #84336
Wow, glad to hear most of us are seeing some good sales numbers this week and that our postal carriers might not hate us after all for scheduling regular pickups! Good news all around 😉 It’s been a great week in my store too. I’ve sold several things that have been listed for 3+ years. The podcast episode was great, as always!
December 6 – 12, 2020
Active Listings: 8600ish
Items Sold: 68
Gross Sales (including shipping): $1822.99
Cost of Items Sold: $52.16
Highest Price Sold: $142.92 (Vintage Pizzelle Iron/Baker)
Average Price Sold: $26.80
Returns: 1 (blouse, for fit)
Sourcing Cost: $129 (impulsive goodwill run)
I say my sourcing was an impulsive goodwill run because I had kind of sworn off sourcing for the moment, since I have a storage unit full of estate sale stuff to process. I have seriously been pulling items and packing up bins for my helpers to photograph from my unit, and after removing over 500 items already for that purpose, you can barely tell a dent has been made. It’s a little overwhelming, so I try to just take things a bin at a time! I am super grateful for the stash of inventory, but whew! It’s not how I usually source! Hope everyone has a great week this week! Cheers!
12/16/2020 at 8:25 am #84361
Anyone else ever done this math for subscription fees? If I’m correct, it doesn’t make sense to pay for an anchor store subscription until you reach 3,400 listings. You get the first 1,000 listings for $60 with the premium store and then each additional listing is 10 cents so it takes 3,400 listings to equal the $300 anchor store subscription. Just wanting to get this out there and see if there’s a hole in my thinking.
$60 = 1,000 listings
$240 = 2400 additional listings
$300 = 3400 listings
12/16/2020 at 8:37 am #84363
People have done the math and your numbers look correct. Sellers have always complained there isnt a level between Premiere (1000 listings) and Anchor (10,000 listings).
Anchor only makes sense if your really committed to go big.
12/16/2020 at 10:12 am #84376almastyParticipant
I’ve got 2 ebay stores. My main store is a premium store with nearly 14,000 listings. My second store is a basic store with nearly 4,000 listings. 2 completely separate and different inventories. Thanks to the free listings for collectibles/books/music, I only use about 50-100 listings per month outside of the free allocation for my main store. I actually use more in my basic store, maybe 100-150 per month in “paid listings.” I pay less than $100 a month in listing fees for both stores. I had an anchor store for years and years before the changes this year in free listings. Thanks, Ebay!
12/16/2020 at 8:39 am #84364debitendcreditsParticipant
- Location: Albuquerque, NM
@NC – Your math used to apply in the before times! But things have changed.
I have 2,500 listings but over 70% of them are considered media or collectibles. These listings are unlimited (technically there is a limit of up to 50k items but that is a different ballgame for anyone on this forum).
So you really need to do the math based on what percentage of your inventory does not fall into the free listings categories. I think if you are heavily into clothing, and newer goods than you would probably need to upgrade to anchor once you hit 3,400.00 listings.
Have a look at your overview page at the end of the month and see where you are landing.
12/16/2020 at 8:51 am #84366
@Debitendcredits You’re correct. Ebay has muddied the water on what the correct number of listing is to move up to the next store level, especially when only a portion of your items will be in those free categories at any one time.
For November, my store averaged 1800-1900 items and I paid $45.20 for insertion fees above my free 1000 with the subscription. That ends up being only a little under 6 cents a listing which gets me up to around 5,000 listings before I would need to move up to an anchor store. That number will change every month depending on what I’ve listed and what has sold.
12/16/2020 at 8:57 am #84369
Ah, yeah I saw the massive amount of additional listings for those specific categories. I have two stores, one for random items and another I started in June as an experiment where I’m building up a massive inventory of patches. Similar to what the Postcard guy does that has been on the podcast.
I did a separate store for the patches so I could ship with stamps and keep top rated seller on my other store but I guess I would’ve been better off to just have the original store because I don’t get the collectibles promotion on the new store. I don’t know what to do at this point as I feel like I’ve got the patch store to a point where repeat customers are coming back and following my store. I also don’t know if the additional listings promotion is for sure a permanent thing.
12/16/2020 at 9:34 am #84372
I’m all about saving money, but i see some sellers get really wrapped up in not paying for listings. They limit their selling just to save a little money. Saving pennies but losing dollars.
Figure out a logical store level, commit, and then list list list.
12/16/2020 at 10:08 am #84375
Yeah, I hold that same view. I have never been one to hold back due to fees. I also like to look at my store on a monthly level vs keeping up with what items have been listed for years. As long as I make way more per month than I pay in fees, I don’t care if it takes me 3 years to sell something.
12/17/2020 at 7:02 am #84400
I don’t know if it’s because I just joined managed payments with my patch store a few days ago or because I messaged eBay on Facebook, but I looked at my account today and the 50,000 free insertion fees had been added 🙂 … Now to see how quickly I can get 50,000 patches listed lol
12/18/2020 at 9:32 am #84421
Now that you mention this, I think you are right…the extra freebies are tied to being in Managed Payments. Also, since you are selling patches, are you aware that ebay will have a new shipping option next year for sports card sellers, a trackable USPS First Class envelope for less than a dollar (but I think only up to 3 ounces?) Anyway, it is starting as cards only, but ebay has indicated if it works out they’ll probably extend it to other things like stamps, postcards etc. I wonder if they’d include patches as well? (Oh, I should add, at least with cards, I think the max value of the sale can only be $20….not sure why they have that requirement. But this might be something you want to keep an eye on….
12/18/2020 at 4:40 pm #84434
There was a discussion on this week’s eBay for Business podcast on that new trading card postage feature. It sounds to me like eBay is getting into the existing USPS Informed Visibility system, the tracking barcode for stamped letters some sellers use, but wants to limit use to trading cards till they work out the bugs. eBay says the new tracking will only be for what USPS classifies as Letters, which is why the weight limit is 3 oz and the envelope can be no thicker than ¼”. It’s only supposed to cost 70 cents.
I find Informed Visibility to not be very reliable for tracking. It doesn’t work for me maybe 10% of the time. It’s its own automated system apparently because USPS’ hand scanners get no reading from the barcode. Also, if a letter does not get the incoming scan when it gets to the post office and goes through automated sorting, subsequent tracking never appears, in my experience. The last tracking update (when it works) is “out for delivery” because the carrier cannot scan it. Informed Visibility is only available for small businesses through third party vendors, and the tracking can only be viewed in the third party’s system. It makes sense that eBay wants to be a vendor to do this, and the $20 limit makes sense based on the system’s limited reliability and the fact that there is not a delivery scan.
12/16/2020 at 9:55 am #84374Mark SParticipant
I don’t know about everyone else, but because of the Unprecedented USPS Insanity, I have decided not to use USPS until they can solve their problems. I started this yesterday and I hope my shipping (USPS only right now) issues go away.
I didn’t even know there was an issue until I heard the podcast. Even then, I thought it was just regional, but then I checked for my orders that have went out and most of my recent orders since Dec. 7th have not been delivered.
I am starting to have to give refunds. I may have to pay about $1 more to use UPS or Fedex, but I will come out ahead and save a lot of headaches.
J& R said they are just changing their handling time. What is your plan?
12/17/2020 at 9:23 am #84403junque reduxParticipant
I initially changed my handling time to 5 days. Then ebay gave a buyer an estimated delivery date of Dec 22 for something that I wasn’t obligated to ship until Dec 18. This was something for which the buyer paid parcel select delivery to CA and I am in northern New England, all the way across the country. Really? So now I have 10 day handling.
12/18/2020 at 1:52 pm #84428
I prefer to use the Time Away feature in my TRS store rather than change handling time. A single short stint of long handling won’t hurt TRS status but if there happen to be other issues pop up, all of them together could make them drop the status for a while, I think. And even if the status is not dropped, I don’t get TRS fee discounts on items that sell while I have long handling.
12/18/2020 at 8:08 pm #84440
I don’t think I fully understand the difference between Time Away and changing handling time in terms of what they do.
My understanding is that a long handling time puts the estimated delivery date far into the future as long as you haven’t shipped yet, but once you ship, the estimated delivery date is revised to be based on the ship date, not the handling time. Meaning, if you have a 15 day handling time, but ship 1 or 2 days after purchase, then estimated delivery date is no longer 13+ days out. Does Time Away work differently?
12/18/2020 at 8:27 pm #84444
I think I understand the difference, but hopefully Temudgin can verify: My listings qualify for the TRS Plus FVF discount in part because I have a one day handling time. If I simply extend the handling time, even just to two days, I lose the discount on any sales made during that period. However, with Time Away, my handling time remains One Day, it’s just that the one day begins on the first business day after my return from Time Away. So let’s say I put my store on Time Away today, with my final day away being Tuesday the 29th. Any purchases made during this time period (assuming I set it up to permit purchases) will need to be shipped on Wed the 30th to meet my one day handling requirement. So long as I do so, I’ll get the TRS Plus Discount.
Temudgin, does that sound right?
12/19/2020 at 12:09 am #84451
MyCottage – what you describe re: handling time vs Time Away makes sense. Thanks!
12/18/2020 at 9:25 pm #84446junque reduxParticipant
Sonia, I think you’re right. I shipped something today with 10 day handling time on, and it says the buyer was told they’ll get it on Tuesday. So it doesn’t help with the current situation, after all.
12/19/2020 at 12:07 am #84450
I wish ebay would just update their delivery date estimates to better reflect reality. Us trying to fix it via extended handling time just doesn’t even really make sense, b/c it’s not the handling process that’s the bottleneck.
Re: the info Jay posted about INR cases being put on hold for an extra 10 days, I’ll be putting that to the test tomorrow. Ebay sent me a message that I have to “handle” the case by then.
12/19/2020 at 9:56 am #84455
I would say that long handling time or Time Away does help a little bit (even though the sale itself triggers the usual short shipping time) because a buyer who is worried about getting something fast hopefully won’t buy the item in the first place because they’ve been warned. It could help avoid excitable buyers who are quick to file INR claims because the buyer reads and buys from a listing that told them they wouldn’t see the item for a while. So your clientele will skew to patient buyers.
12/19/2020 at 10:03 am #84457
In bringing Time Away into the conversation I was focused on what ChristineR, Mississippi Picker, and others are doing in not even wanting to put their packages into the stream until after the holidays. So they’re using Time Away as it is typically intended and not shipping until it ends.
12/19/2020 at 10:38 am #84458
I’ve only used Time Away once so far, put the store on Time Away from Tuesday through Friday of this week, which with one business day handling , pushed my actual shipping date to this coming Monday….which meant any delivery estimate the buyers were shown was past Dec 25th. I did this because we had a major winter storm forecast for Wednesday. We set it to allow sales and did indeed have some sales, in each case, I wrote to the buyer explaining about the storm, offering to cancel the sale if they needed the item by Christmas, and explaining about not only the storm, but the USPS delays as well. Buyers were all fine with it. And, as it turned out, the storm did not knock out power here (our biggest concern) and we got dug out in time to take packages to the PO on Thursday. So I ended up shipping Thursday and we ended the Time Away early.
Better half and I have been lucky. So far, no INRs and no real complaining. But we’ve been pro-active, which I do think can really make a difference. I did have one buyer who bought a Christmas stocking and included a message with her payment that she needed it before Christmas. She paid for Priority Mail. I explained about the delays (this was before the storm), that I could not guarantee arrival even by Christmas, and so forth….gave her the opt out to cancel and she did….very graciously, said she really appreciated me taking the time to explain everything….But other than that, no real problems (so far).
I really do like the Time Away. It is easy to set up, preserves the TRS Plus discount, and it was very easy to end early. I give credit to ebay….sellers have wanted something better than “Store Vacation” for years but Wenig never came up with anything….I have to say, again, I think new management is doing a much better job than Wenig. They’ve still got a lot to fix, but at least they seem to be headed in the right direction.
12/18/2020 at 8:12 pm #84441
PS – Temudgin, I think you mean TRS+, not TRS. You don’t need to have short handling time to be TRS, and with TRS you don’t get FVF discounts.
12/19/2020 at 9:57 am #84456
Sonia, you’re right. Long handling time is irrelevant to Top Rated Seller status, which is awarded for longevity, sales and transaction numbers, and clean record. Once a seller is TRS, then their listings are eligible for Top Rated Plus status if they have same or 1 day handling and 30 day returns, and MyCottage you’re correct about how the 10% FVF discount works vis a vis Time Away. One could be TRS and never have any TRP-eligible listings and be fine.
12/17/2020 at 1:24 pm #84404AmatinoParticipant
- Location: Texas
An email just came in from Wyze regarding their shipping issues and I thought the wording was excellent. For those of you wanting to send messages to your buyers, I copy the text below for you to get some ideas:
While I’m working to get these updates to you, my ask in return is that you please keep in mind that we’re living in unprecedented times. There’s a LOT of stress on shipping infrastructure and manufacturing processes worldwide right now. Not only are shipping carriers moving unfathomable amounts of packages, but they’re doing so during a pandemic that could shut down both manufacturing and shipping along the way at a moment’s notice. I’m working super hard, but our shipping carriers, internal teams, and our external partners are working even harder. I’d ask you to hug a postal worker or FedEx employee… but we’re in a pandemic. So please just tell them that Jimmy from Wyze appreciates them and so do you.
12/17/2020 at 4:00 pm #84410
I was feeling pretty smug at the beginning of the week as I’d had only 2 packages that had problems. I now have 14 packages with transit problems, most with little or no tracking data. All but two shipped last week. Most concerned about a handful that didn’t get their check-in scan for several days after I dropped them and had the origin scan at the place I dropped them. I guess they sat in a corner for a few days. So far only one customer has asked for a refund and she is willing to wait a few more days after I explained the situation. I also called eBay and they put a 10-day hold on the refund request since the package had a tracking update as of yesterday.
This week has been very busy and just now getting to post my numbers. Last week was a little below holiday average. Still a good number of packages, but I seem to be selling a lot of my lower dollar inventory. Only averaged $26 per package when my average is about $43. Overall sales as of the 15th were on par with last year.
Week Ending 12/12/20
Total Items in Store: 1204
Items Sold: 34
Gross Sales: $1,474.57
Net Sales (after fees, shipping, etc.) $898.64
Cost of Items Sold: $123.00
COGS Percent 13.69%
Highest Price Sold: $125.00 Antique Stanley Plane
Average Price Sold: $26.43
Money Spent on New Inventory: $0.00
Sold via promoted listings: 21
Promoted Percentage: 61.76%
Average Days Listed: 270
Longest Listed: 1481
New items listed: 17
12/18/2020 at 9:48 am #84423
I posted this on another thread:
eBay put out this notice on Dec 16: https://community.ebay.com/t5/Announcements/UPDATE-Helping-buyers-understand-shipping-delays-and-what-you/ba-p/31412134
For items in transit, we are keeping cases open for 10 more days from the time a buyer asked eBay to step in to allow additional time for the item to be delivered.
This is big. So once a buyer opens a Item Not Received case, we have 10 days to hope the item is delivered.
A buyer can only open an “item not received” request after the estimated delivery date plus 1 day. When a request is opened the seller has 3 business days to respond before the buyer can ask eBay to step in.
If tracking on the item shows movement within the past 10 calendar days and the parcel is in the destination country, we’ll keep the request open for 10 more days from the time the buyer asked eBay to step in to allow additional time for the item to be delivered. After that time, if there is no updated activity, eBay will consider the item lost and we’ll ask the seller to refund the buyer.
So I’m reading like so:
–Day 1: Buyer purchases on Day 1. Lets say its estimated to be delivered in 5 days.
–Day 7. They can only open a case after delivery day has passed plus one day.
–Day 10: Seller has three business days to respond. So it could be five calendar days if its over a weekend. If the seller can calm the buyer, the clock keep ticking. But the buyer can then ask eBay to step in.
–Day 10-20: If the seller can show tracking was uploading with some kind of movement, then the buyer must wait another 10 calendar days. It says “if there is no updated activity, we’ll ask the seller to refund the buyer”, so its unclear that any movement keeps resetting the clock.
So basically eBay is giving a MINIMUM of 20 days for packages to be delivered. But if you can keep the buyer from getting eBay involved or have a longer handling time, that time is even more increased.
12/18/2020 at 2:54 pm #84429ItemsfromthesouthParticipant
- Location: Florida
That’s a good point Jay. I have only had 1 item not received case opened this season and it was delivered 4 days after that. Communication with the customer is key in most cases.
12/20/2020 at 6:52 am #84465tam from Tam’s Vintage & MoreParticipant
I’m not a carrier, I work in a processing plant so I can’t speak from experience on whether the carrier minds picking up packages. I would say tho that the truck is always full ( each carrier has their own organization system for keeping the route in order and should have a designated spot in the truck for pickups) so maybe keep the packages small. As far as I know there is no monetary benefit besides secret customer tipping to picking up whilst delivering. We checked to see how many things we still have out in the mail stream and currently its 37 things floating around in postal space. I trust the process as a postal worker but this is disturbing from a business owner perspective. We continue to use UPS and FedEx when we can. As always, on behalf of the USPS, I thank you for your support and apologize for the delays.
12/20/2020 at 1:27 pm #84474ChristineRParticipant
- Location: Southern California
Total Items in Store: 362
Items Sold: 8
Gross Sales: $345
Cost of Items Sold: $83
Highest Price Sold: $120 discontinued Lego set I bought at Ross and didn’t get listed last or donated year, then found in my garage ($25).
Average Price Sold: $45
Returns: 0 – one item didn’t show up or get an outbound scan – refunded and out about COGS + Shipping $18.
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed this week: 0
Happy holidays trash elves. My little Ebay Store is greatly neglected but I had some nice sales last week. We are about to emerge from college application land after this month. My day job has been very busy lately too. Kids are stressed in their own ways. I haven’t listed in weeks.
My son was accepted to 5/5 colleges so far. He has a lot of apps in and just a few more reach school apps to send during break. We still hope to travel in April to MA/NH/VT. Fingers crossed. My daughter made the high school musical (which they will try to perform in May somehow.) We are a looong way from that now, with a huge Cali shut down. Hopefully our numbers will trend back down and people won’t travel or mix much.
I should be able to do a bit more Ebay starting in the new year as I anticipate my day job will slow down and I won’t be as fatigued by sitting at the computer desk at home. It was tough as for the first time I bought a few seasonal items and then didn’t even get them listed before the holiday event. I hope everyone enjoys a safe and wonderful holiday at home.
12/20/2020 at 7:49 pm #84491
Congrats on your son being accepted to all those colleges!
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