This is something that every seller, new or experienced struggles with at some point in their online selling career. If I had the answer to how to make your sales consistent 100% of t the time, I’d be a millionaire. (Which I’m not.) There are a few things that I’ve observed in my years of selling online that I believe contributes to having the dollar amount of your sales being consistent from month to month.
1. Stock a variety of items in your store.
If you decide that you’re going to sell backpacks online, most likely you will see a spike in sales from August – October, which is great but certain months out of the year when your product isn’t in demand, your sales will be low.
Try to think of things that will sell each month of the year and start stocking those items in your store so you’ve got it listed and ready to go when the items are in demand. That way, you’ve got items listed in your store that will be popular sellers each month or “season” of the year.
Here’s the types of items that I carry so that I’m ready for different times of the year: (You’ll probably have some ideas to add too.)
2. List new items consistently.
This has always been a core belief of mine when it comes to selling online. I built my store on this principle, and recently proved it again.
I had maintained my store at close to 1200 items for nearly the last year when I decided to move across the country and liquidate the majority of my inventory. I ended some listings and put them in my yard sale. I ran sales in my store, I auctioned items off and in the end, I went for a period of nearly six weeks without listing new items.
During that time, my inventory went from 1200 items to 400 items. While I made some good money in those six weeks of liquidating, my sales were almost non-existent for almost three weeks after that. I was finding some fantastic items and listing as much as I could every day. But, I was lucky to have $15 in sales.
Because of the fact that I hadn’t been listing any new items for six weeks, even my existing listings suffered. As soon as I got my inventory back up to 500 listings, I saw a HUGE increase in sales, and it wasn’t just my new listings selling. Previous listings were selling just as much as new listings. The work you do in your store today equals the sales you’ll see in your store over the next few weeks. So if you’re listings an item or two a day, you can expect to sell about an item or two a day. At one point last year, I was listing (with the help of my assistant) nearly 100 items a week, and selling an average of 60-75 items a week.
Even if you have items listed already, if you’re not listing anything new this week, you probably won’t be making very many sales next week, that’s just how it has always been in my 7+ years of selling on eBay.
3. Set realistic goals and actively work toward them.
I can’t say enough about this one. If you don’t have a goal, you’ll never reach it. A goal can be how many items you want to list, a dollar amount of sales, or a goal of how many new feedback you want to work for that month. You could even set a goal to stop shopping until everything in your to be listed bin (for some of us, bins) is listed, OR your goal could be to stop reading about it and thinking about it and start selling online this month.
Whatever your goal is, make a decision and then take steps to reach that goal. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Work on it little by little. Do a little bit to build your business each day and the results will come in.
No matter where you are as an online seller, business owner, or parent, one thing that’s really important is taking good care of yourself.
Yes, we need to be disciplined, (I am guilty of needing to be more disciplined……….you don’t know how many times one of you has popped up to ask me a selling question on Facebook and I’m busy playing my Angry Birds weekly tournament…… embarrassing.) If we don’t shop, take pictures and list, we won’t make sales, but at the same time, we need to take breaks, or treat ourselves to a reward.
In the summer, I like to list a few hours in the morning and then head out to the pool with friends or go to lunch. Other times, if I reach my sales goals for the month, I treat myself to a massage or a new pair of shoes. Tonight, I’m headed to my brother’s football game.
The point IS to make money, but you can’t live on your online site and you can’t let it consume you.
Don’t work for your store, let your store work for you.
Set aside time to work on your listings, and make it fun. Turn on some music, take your laptop outside, get together with a friend and work on listings while your kiddos play together, but make sure you also set aside time to take care of you.
Don’t stress yourself or burn yourself out. Think about what would be a good reward for your labor. An hour to read a book? A Movie? Coffee or lunch with a friend? A massage? (that’s my personal favorite reward ) A road trip or vacation? A day off?
Think about your goals, and how you plan to reach them this week and then decide what you want to do to reward yourself. Sometimes I find that a day off works wonders. I come back the next day excited, have fresh ideas, and I’m ready to go again.
Setting and accomplishing goals is one of my favorite things to do when it comes to running my business. No matter where you are in the process, setting and reaching goals is an important part of growing any business.
Goals can be anything you choose. You can set listing goals, shipping goals, sales goals, feedback goals, or all of the above.
Maybe your goal this summer is to get your storage area organized, or to shop less and list more. Whatever your goal is, once it’s set you need to determine HOW to reach it. Then start working toward your goal.
I like to work on goals that I set in small steps. For instance, if my goal is to increase my sales by $300 per month, first, I would analyze my current situation and decide:
*Do I need to list more items?
*Do I need to sell higher priced items?
* Do I need to run a sale on my current items?
*Do I need to promote my current items on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
*Do I need to branch out and start selling on other sites?
*Do I need to learn about new or different products to sell?
*Do I need to brainstorm with other sellers?
Once I’ve identified which area I need to work on to increase my sales, it’s time to get busy and decide my first step. I don’t usually have a large block of time that I can work on things all at once, so I try to work on my goals a little bit each day.
I might set a goal to tweet or pin 5 items out of my store each day. That only takes a few minutes, right?
Another goal might be to list at least 3 items per day, even on days when I didn’t plan to list. If I have the pictures ready, it shouldn’t take too long to list 3 items per day.
Something that I did a few years ago was identify the time of year when my sales are low (at that time, it was typically February thru May) and decide what I should list in my store to carry me through that time of year. For me, it was listing things like rain boots, swimming suits, shoes, capri pants, sandals, etc.
Regardless of what your goals are, make sure that you make the something that’s a reasonable goal for you so that you can see progress in the right direction. Don’t set a goal that will leave you frustrated about your work.
If you’re selling $300 a month online right now, setting a goal to get to $3,000 a month, doesn’t sound to me like a reasonable goal for you, at least not as an immediate goal. It might be your long term goal, but take small steps to get to it. If you’re selling $300 a month right now, what can you do to get to $500 a month? Eventually, you’ll reach your BIG goals, but you have to start small and take it one step at a time.
I’d love to hear your summer business goals. You can either drop us a line via email or leave a comment.
#1 Learn about a new product
You know the old saying “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got”
I think it’s a pretty true statement. If you want something to change in your online business, you’re going to have to do something different than you’ve done before. Sometimes, that means breaking into a new line of products. Keep learning new brands, new types of products to sell, and don’t be scared to give it a try. The sky’s the limit.
#2 Join an online selling forum
There are lots of great online selling forums out there, one of my faves is eBay Underground. You can discuss everything about selling online (We talk about more than just eBay), bounce ideas off of each other, and get some new ideas. If you’re not comfortable discussing, join anyway and read what other people are saying about selling online.
#3 Now is the time to list
I know that I talk about listing all the time, and sometimes I feel like a broken record, but right now is the time to get it listed. If ever there was a time to take a break from listing, it’s not now. During this time of the year, my items seem to sell just as fast as I can get them listed, so even if you have to put shopping on hold for now to list what you have waiting to be listed, go for it!
#4 If you have a premium store, automate emails and feedback
Here’s one of my favorite things about having a premium eBay store……I can automate feedback!
Every time a customer leaves a positive feedback for me, my store is set to randomly leave them one of five feedback statements that I’ve already chosen. It’s a HUGE time saver for me, and is one less thing to think about. You can also set your store to automatically send an email to customers when you ship out their item. Love it, Love it, LOVE it!
#5 Increase your pricing
I know this might sound a little odd to some of you, but sometimes, if you don’t price your items high enough, they won’t sell.
If you can make a few more dollars per item, you’ll make more money and do less work. Take a look at your inventory and consider increasing your pricing. Sometimes an item marked $19.99 will sell better marked $21.99 or $24.99.
When I first started selling on eBay, yes my items sold, but they could have sold for a lot more money. I felt like $14.99 or $19.99 was a lot to price an item at and I would price a lot of things at $9.99. Now a few years older and wiser, my prices are much higher than $9.99, and instead of making a few hundred dollars of profit a month, I’m starting to make a few thousand dollars of profit a month.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t meet your sales or listing goal for the week.
Real life is what happens when we have other plans.
Try again next week.
Analyze what you could have done differently to be able to make higher sales or list more items, make a game plan and then implement it. You know what works best for you, your family, and your schedule.