02/18/2020 at 12:29 am #74081DantheDinerParticipant
I have been looking at eCommerce positions, and came across one from a company called ThredUp. I thought that it sounded familiar, so I did a quick search on eBay. It’s a massive consignment operation that sells massive amounts of non-expensive clothes at incredibly low prices.
If you look at this price-sorted general search for “gap xs hoodie,” you’ll see just how much the flood some cheap clothing categories.
Seeing the massive scope of their operation, and hearing the latest podcast with Troy, has got me thinking. I always assumed massive, non-barcode markets like clothes categories were too large to be too adversely affected by cheap sellers. But what if ThredUp, and companies like it, have started to crash some of our bread & butter markets? If you think about it, our margins are entirely too high for a sustainable market, and market correction would call for huge-scale operations like this to bring down the prices. Did these companies finally figure out how efficient it can be to sell some of the never-ending oversupplies of secondhand clothing? Could this be part of why our sales have been suffering? It seems like a simple-enough problem to solve; I just wish I had access to some market analytical tools.0
02/18/2020 at 9:30 am #74093JayKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
I think this is a very good hypothesis. Not only Thread Up, but just more and more clothing sellers who are at Troy’s level. Clothes are so easy to find and relatively affordable. If you have half a brain, you can create a streamlined process and list list list. Clothes are also easy to store and ship.
So it may be that huge huge resellers have hit the market, or just a accumulation of many many “big” home sellers.
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by Jay.
02/18/2020 at 1:29 pm #74104MyCottageParticipant
I think, in addition to Thred Up, there are a number of other factors:
1. The price of new clothes is low (unless we’re talking about high end fashion). I’ve seen some items on sale at WalMart for less than some Thrift Stores charge.
2. Not only are there a lot more people selling used clothing, on ebay and on other sites, and even in antique malls, but it’s a safe bet that many of those people are buying their own clothing where they shop for resale. Why should they buy from me, a middleman ebay seller, when they can buy directly from a thrift store, yard sale, or whatever?
3. Casual dress is more and more acceptable in workplaces and at social functions.
I’m a good example. Other than underwear and socks (and since my local Goodwill has started carrying new socks, not even socks really)….I can’t remember the last time I bought a shirt or coat or pants at a regular retail store.
At this point, I think to sell clothing on ebay you either need to aim for very high volume and high sales velocity, to make up for lower prices, or you have to be much more discriminating in what you offer for sale. Local sourcing for me is harder and harder because I live in an area where few people have ever bought higher end brands, and the competition to source clothing has grown enormously.0
02/18/2020 at 3:23 pm #74119almastyParticipant
Yep, us booksellers have been dealing with this for years. I’m surprised it took this long for someone to figure out how to scale clothing in the same way.
Newer clothing items have tags on them that make it easy to search by SKU number. Some of them even say what season they are from right on the label. With a ton of comps available, it is easy to figure out how to price the clothing. Unless you’re dealing with vintage, there are really no surprises with most newer clothing from normal brands over the past few years.
I wonder if sites like ThredUp or other similar larger retailers have repricing software. That has been a tremendous problem with bookselling for years – as soon as you have an item listed, someone has already beaten you on the price.
The ThredUp model for clothing also reminds me of Better World Books. There’s a feel good component of donating your books or selling your clothing to an organization that worries about the environment, man. Even though they’re both huge for-profit organizations that make a ton of money, they make us small sellers in comparison look like greedy capitalists. It’s so annoying, haha.
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02/18/2020 at 3:36 pm #74121JayKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
Other than the rare specialty book, is it still worth it to sell books or have the giant sellers crammed the price down too far? I wonder if used clothes are heading that way where only giant sellers who can profit on small margins and volume will survive.0
02/18/2020 at 4:06 pm #74122almastyParticipant
It’s still worth it to sell on Amazon, but it gets harder each year. Textbooks are going digital, first of all:
“Digital-first. Open source. Subscription. The way textbooks are bought and sold is changing—with serious implications for higher education.
Pearson is one of the biggest publishers of educational books in the world, with a roster of 1,500 textbooks in the US market. Last month, it announced that going forward it would adopt a “digital first” strategy. It’ll still produce physical textbooks, but students will rent by default with the option to buy after the rental period ends.”
If you do have good physical textbooks to sell, you may be restricted on Amazon and need to sell them directly on Ebay.
Amazon is removing books at their whim:
“The retailer once said it would sell “the good, the bad and the ugly.” Now it has banished objectionable volumes.”
Let alone the increased competition for books out in the wild, plus increased competition once you’re able to get a book listed from both FBA and other MFA sellers, including the mega sellers (BWB, Goodwill, library systems selling directly, huge warehouse sellers, etc,.) and other smaller sellers.
You have to work harder to maintain your prior sales levels, but that seems to be the way it is to sell online now. It’s hard, a ton of work, but doable.0
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