Things That Flew Out the Door: May 2013

This month, 15 items that were listed sold in the same month.  I enjoy tracking each month to see what’s selling right away, but it also reminds me that this is why I have a store. Not everything has to sell right away for me to make money.

Here’s May’s list:

*Plush Charlie Brown

*Dansko Clogs

*Gap Sundress

*Men’s sweatervest

*Crest Toothpaste

*Wilton fish cake pan

*Garnet Hill Skirt

*Hanna Andersson sun dress

*Tribal Jeans

*Athleta Skirt

*Old Navy Sweater Dress

*Plush Thing 1 and Thing 2

*Garnet Hill top

Rachel

What Sold For Me This Christmas Season 2012

I was a little bit nervous heading into the 2012 Christmas online buying season for a few reasons:

#1 I liquidated about 2/3 of my inventory this summer before my move, so my inventory went from 1,200 items to 400.  I was able to get it as high as 680 items before the Christmas selling season started.

#2 Usually I’m able to spend the entire summer listing and building up my store for Christmas.  This year, I did the opposite and didn’t feel like I was very well stocked up for the season.

#3 I didn’t have a lot of toys listed this year and toys are usually my big seller during the Christmas season.

Here was my game plan:

Find items that were the lowest investment with the highest profit and the quickest turn around.

I hate to tell you this, but that’s a whole lot easier said than done.

Believe me, I put a lot of thought into how to pull it off so that my sales were at least comparable to where they were last Christmas shopping season despite the fact that I had a whole lot less inventory available.

Here’s what I did:

I tried to keep a balance in my inventory purchases between items that were a good long term investment to work on stocking my store up and items that would be a quick turn around to create some quick sales.

I was surprised that I actually sold a lot of sweaters and clothes during this year’s Christmas shopping season.  Cashmere always does well for me, so I don’t hesitate to purchase it for inventory.  I also did well with “Nordic” style sweaters.  Not necessarily a certain brand, but the ones with the snowflakes and silver pretty buttons.

Long, stylish jean skirts and corduroy skirts are consistent sellers for me during this time of year typically, so I worked on stocking those in my store when I could find them.

I was shopping in thrift stores that were new to me, and even though I was exploring a lot and trying to find my new “favorite” thrift stores, I had a horrible time finding thrift stores that had a large supply of plush animals.  I did my best in that area, but most of the thrift stores here just have one bin of plush toys at any given time, so that was slim pickings.

One of the things I did was take a little bit more risk on items that I hadn’t tried selling in the past.

Here are some of the new things I sold:

* Candy Corn Oreos (Sold over 40 packs of them)

* Altoids mints

* Theraflu

* Sealed Floppy Disks

* Sealed blank cassette tapes

* Sealed blank VHS compact camcorder tapes

During the Christmas shopping season, I used markdown manager to strategically create 10% & 15% off sales during the week (I excluded weekends) to encourage customers to buy, and I also put some of my older inventory (that a friend of mine kept for me when I moved) on auction to get it moved out.

I believe that where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Sometimes you just have to take a risk to find the way :)

Rachel

Online Selling Tip of the Week

If you have an eBay store, try creating a “Clearance” category in your store for items that have been in your inventory awhile that you’d like to see gone.

You can edit your items in bulk to move them into the “Clearance” category in just a few clicks.

Rachel

It’s Not Just Listing that Brings Sales, it’s What You List

Everyone who sells online wants to sell more, increase their profit, and have sales consistent enough to supplement their household income or to live off of.

Lizzie and I have posted lists for you of the types of items and brands that we have been successful with selling online, as well as each of you have knowledge of certain brands or types of items that you’re familiar with and are great sellers for you.

I hear a lot of sellers who get frustrated because they’re not making as many sales or as much money as they’d like to be making online.

While I’m a huge advocate of listing items on a consistent basis to generate consistent sales, I feel that it’s important for sellers, especially newer sellers to understand that it’s not just listing items that bring sales, it’s what you list that brings sales.

So not only do you want to list items consistently, but you want to be somewhat picky about the items that you’re investing money in to resell.

For example:

Would you rather spend time listing and shipping 10 Beanie babies at $5.00 each, or would you rather spend time shipping and listing 5 plush toys like Alf, Caillou, The Wiggles, Veggietales and Peeps, items that you can easily get $14.99-39.99 for?(depending on the time of year)

Many times, I see newer sellers do what I refer to as “spinning your wheels”.

Yes, Beanie babies might sell, but it’s a lot more work and a lot less profit.

I see new sellers filling their stores up with brands like Faded Glory, Gap, New York and Company, and wondering why their sales are slow, or why they aren’t making the “big sales.”  It’s not that there’s not buyers out there, but investing in brands like Faded Glory, Gap and New York and Company aren’t going to bring you the “big sales.”  I’m not saying that they won’t sell at all.  If that’s what’s in your closet and you’re just starting out, go for it, but I wouldn’t invest money into purchasing brands like these for  inventory.

Also, keep in mind that just because a brand might be more expensive initially, it doesn’t mean that the resale market for it is high.

*Learn about new brands.

* Look at completed listings and find out what’s selling.

A lot of times, the good brands are right under your nose at local yard sales and resale shops,  you just haven’t discovered that brand yet, so you’re leaving it on the rack.

I’m constantly updating my list of items to look for, and sharing them with you. All of the items on my list are items that I have found and had success with personally.  You might consider creating your own list of items that you’ve had success with and adding to it as you learn about new brands that you research or hear about from friends.

If you know of a great selling item, consider submitting a guest post to have  your knowledge and a link to your store featured on a blog post on The Selling Sisters!

Happy selling~

Rachel

Dual Philosophy for Selling in an eBay Store

Many times in conversation, people tell me that they’ve started selling on eBay and they want to know what I think about them opening an eBay store.

While I’m a huge advocate of having an eBay store if you’re planning to sell on eBay long term or full time, one thing that a lot of people don’t understand right away is that the philosophy of selling on auction is much different than selling in a store.

#1. Auctions attract a different type of buyer than a store does.

Keep in mind that not everyone likes to bid on items or have the time to wait for an auction to end to find out if they won an item.  Some people like the thrill of the auction, some people like to simply purchase their item and pay for it, even if they have to pay a little bit more for it.

Auctions are short lived, so your audience is anyone who is looking for the particular item you have available during your auction time frame.  Buy it Now listings can last as long as you want them to last.  Certain items in my store fly out the door during particular windows of time each year and I have them ready to go when that rush hits.  Some items, you just have to be patient and wait for the right buyer to come along.  Most of the time, my items sell within a month of listing them, but not always, sometimes, it’s 6 months or a year down the road for the right buyer to come along.

Selling in an eBay store isn’t always about making the quick sale.  Most of the time, you have to be patient.  The sales will come and will start being more consistent as you list items and as you learn more about items that are in demand online.

#2. Don’t under price yourself.

This is one common mistake that I see a lot of newer sellers make.  Under pricing themselves.  I know you want to make a sale and make some money, but  please realize that paying $1 for an item and selling it for $5 is not worth your time and effort, especially after paying eBay and Paypal fees on it.

I also see a lot of newer sellers list items for $14.99 when they could get $19.99 or $24.99 for their item easily.  From talking to other sellers I know, it seems that more experienced sellers tend to make more money on their items not just because of their feedback, but also because of their confidence in pricing.  If you’re not sure where to price something, look at similar items on eBay, look at completed listings on eBay, and if you’re still not sure, have a conversation with an experienced seller or two to get their opinion on how to price your items.  Not only will you make more money when you price your items confidently, but also some buyers won’t buy from you if the price is too low.

#3. Stock your store with a combination of items that will bring you a good profit and items that will sell fairly quickly.

Having a combination of items that will turn around quickly and items that are higher priced that you’re waiting for the right buyer to come along for is the way to go in my opinion.  You won’t make large dollar amounts on selling just one item every day, but the more you have higher priced items in your store, the more you will see them sell, and it’s a nice “bonus” to have a $50 or $99 sale once in awhile, while still selling your “bread and butter” consistent sellers too.

Rachel

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