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.