You Sold That for How Much!?

Money PileI sold something last night that I’ve been thinking about all day, knowing I would post about it here to teach a few things. First, I bought these lights at Wal-Mart after Christmas. They sold for $24.99 and were 75% off, so my purchase price was $6.25 each. I wasn’t sure about them, but I bought 15 because for $6 how could I go wrong!? 🙂 They may end up being a long tail item (one that sits for awhile before it sells), but I was willing to take the gamble on these since I wasn’t doing my typical after Christmas sale shopping.
Lights - Listing

I listed them on Jan 14th for $59.99 with free shipping. SIXTY DOLLARS for lights Wal-Mart was selling for $25? Yes. I do this all the time. And I sold three sets to a buyer (with just 7 feedback) that lives a few towns over from me and put $180 in my pocket.

There is much discussion and ‘friendly debate’ about free shipping. To free ship or not to free ship, that is the question! I say this all the time….I have 3500+ listings in my store and has free shipping. Of course we all know that free shipping isn’t even close to free (and one of the reasons I priced these lights so high; each reel weighs about 4 pounds). BUT, eBay has said that offering free shipping, returns and one day shipping time will yield you better search results. They don’t give away too many ‘trade secrets’ but they tell us these three things will get us higher in search rankings, so I do all three on every.single.listing.

Lights - All saleI wanted to see if there were other listings today that were priced cheaper and put my theory to test on this sale. So I searched “400 Holiday Time Heavy Duty Clear Mini Lights” and yielded 6 returns. I sorted highest first and was surprised that my listing wasn’t at the top! The one above my listing was for 2 spools (there’s a key word I hadn’t thought of..spools!) at $50 with BO and $22 shipping. I quickly calculated that to $36 each before any BO negotiating. That’s nearly HALF of my asking price. The listing right below mine was for $32 with BO and FS….why didn’t the buyer pick that one!? Or the one below that which is on sale and priced out at $17.50 with $11.21 shipping? Or the two below that, both with BO options and free shipping?

Lights - Free ShippingHere’s my thought….buyers just shop. Many don’t price compare or look at all the options and details that sellers do. What do I think caused this buyer to purchase these ‘overpriced’ lights from me and not another seller? Free shipping. If you click on the ‘free shipping’ filter, there are two listings. BUT STILL, the other one is priced at $32 with a BO and free shipping. My first thought was perhaps that seller didn’t have three, but they do, they have 10 available. So the only other reason I can think of that this particular buyer bought these lights from me at double the cost because they needed them quickly and was looking for a quick delivery. I shipped today and they could arrive tomorrow….no extra cost to the buyer.

There are lots of ways to look at this sale and my reason for posting it here today is to show sellers that price is not always the determining factor for all buyers. That free shipping doesn’t mean you lose money on a sale. Good pics and great titles will always help, (and I’m the first to admit that not all my listings have GREAT pics, sometimes I’m just too lazy to reshoot them). Watchers and page views are just information and don’t mean anything when it comes to a sale. At the time of this post, this listing as 143 page views and 1 watcher….but I still sold three to one buyer.

Lights - SoldsAlso, if I had looked at the solds and listed my item just from the prices there, I would have left some good money on the table. A listing for a set of 2 sold for $47.99 plus $12 shipping on Feb 15. Another set of two sold for $40 with free shipping on March 21st and one sold for $23 (I assume with free shipping since it was a BO and when I researched the price in, it gives that price. Since the original listing was $18 plus $8.25 shipping, a sale price of $23 would have me conclude the price included shipping, even though the listing did not), sold on Mar 5th. Which brings up another point, if you’re going to ultimately offer an item with free shipping, why not list it that way and take advantage of all the buyers to click on the ‘free shipping’ filter.

What about this post surprises you? What do you agree with and practice with your listings? What have you sold that you priced high and have found other listings that are cheaper?

Do Store Sales Sell Items?

As a long time eBay seller (it will be 19 years in July), there are certain notions that I would call old school. Things that were tried and true in the past but may not be true with today’s eBayer, buyers, online expectations, etc.  I am one that does not believe price is the deciding factor for my eBay sales. I  always price my items higher than the next guy and am generally willing to wait for my buyer to come along. This is not a business practice for some, but it has worked well for me for a long time now.

Price is rightMy thought process behind this is by the time I have sourced my item, taken the picture, written a  description, priced and listed the item, 95% of my work is done.  I can price my item high and wait 60-90 days for my buyer to come along. This generally works well and many of my items sell before they hit the 90 day mark, but I’ve got plenty that do sit for longer times. What to do in these cases….

I’ve never been a fan of using the Best Offer option on all of my listings. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of negotiation and love to negotiate, but to me when I see a new listing with a $40 price AND Best Offer I think to myself ‘This seller wants $40 for this item, but they’ll take less….and they’re going to make me figure out how much less.’ I’ve played this game and it’s frustrating. Sometimes I engage with a seller, wait up to Negotiation48 hours for their response only to be countered with an offer of $39. If $39 is your best offer, you as a seller shouldn’t have listed the item with a Best Offer option. Now me, as a buyer is just frustrated at the back-and-forth time it has taken to get to this point and I move on to the next seller, probably one with a Buy-it-Now listing with free shipping. In today’s world of instant gratification and 2-day shipping, when I’m thinking about an item I want, I get online, find it and with a few clicks it’s paid for and I’m expecting it to show up on my doorstep in 2-3 days.

I’ve also never been a fan of sales. For me, putting an item on sale never seemed to generate any sales or provoke the watchers to pull the trigger and buy an item. That may not be the case for other sellers, but for me and my items, a sale doesn’t seem to do the trick…at least it hasn’t in the past. I’m writing this post today to be a reminder to me and to teach others that things that did or didn’t work in the past must be tried again. Buyers change. Platforms change. Expectations change. There are lots of variables that can have a different impact on what you do and how you do it today than it did two years ago…or longer.

SaleIn the effort to reduce the amount of inventory I must move, I have been putting my store on sale over and over again. At first it felt like it was the same thing. At one point in January I put every item in my store on a 15% off sale. I sold very few items that weekend.  At that time I decided to put all my clothes on a 50% off sale for about a week….and I sold a total of three clothing items. I kept up and kept trying and then my interest in sales fizzled and I hadn’t done a store sale in about a month. Then I hit a low point in sales. I had two days and only one sale. 3700 listings and only ONE SALE! I’ve got inventory to move and I prefer to move it via USPS and not a moving truck, so on a whim, late at night right before headed upstairs to bed, I decided to do another full store sale. It was quick and easy to click on every listing and make it 15% off. Easy, done, and I was on my way to bed.

The next morning I woke to four sales!  By mid-afternoon I had several more sales and I was beginning to think this full store sale thing might be the way to go. Throughout the day I enjoyed the cha-ching of my phone and noted the variety of items that were selling. Plush, clothes, kitchen items, Easter, Christmas, Halloween, the items that sold were all over the board and I was loving all the sales!

What I took away from the experience was that while store sales may not always create increased sales, it doesn’t hurt to try and as sellers we shouldn’t give up on an idea just because it doesn’t work the first, or second or even third time. I also realized that had I just put clothes on sale that would have resulted in one sale for the day and by putting the entire store on sale I’m reaching all my customers and watchers and that a 15% discount just might be the trick that gets them to pull the trigger.

This sale is running for a week….when it’s over I’ll come back and update this post with details on how it went.