Dried Up Well eBay

July 2015 “Profits” – Sales Slowdown

Dollar Flipper Blog Update, Profits

For any new readers, I (mostly) post my numbers every month. This is to ground myself and allow me to course correct or accept my current position. If you’re interested in my older monthly update posts, check them out here.

I just finished listening to an NPR Planet Money podcast this morning, and I couldn’t help feeling that it was an allegory to my eBay sales.

They feel like a dried up well.

Dried Up Well eBay

She sells less during the summer sale slump.

At least We’re not in the Red!

Jun-15 Jul-15Total YTD
Income
Blog Referral6.006.0074.17
Sales721.59564.896207.50
Shipping Income9.480.00263.98
Returns-73.490.00-280.46
Expense
eBay Fees90.8570.93695.55
PayPal Fees26.1021.38220.81
Shipping Costs95.5365.28872.48
Cost of Goods Sold93.06217.66764.72
Mileage0.0029.5696.08
Travel Expenses0.000.001.00
Utilities25.3825.38162.13
Amazon Fees7.580.00108.76
Office Supplies0.000.0079.02
Office Expense0.000.00374.94
Advertising0.000.0047.00
Other Expenses0.000.0050.75
Profit / Loss325.08156.092791.95

Now, let’s first note that I haven’t been listing as much. We went on vacation the end of June/beginning of July, so low sales are to be expected.

But what about this last week? Literally 1 sale and that was last Sunday.

Let’s look a little further at why my sales could be slow.

Possible Reasons for Slow Summer Sales

Mainly Listing Clothing

I’ve transitioned to mostly clothing (nearly 2/3 of my store). Clothing just seems to be a slower seller, but I’m willing to accept that since it’s so easy to store and ship.

Style

Not only am I listing mostly clothing, but my focus has been fall/winter clothing. T-Shirts are a hard sell for me because there’s so many crappy ones out there. I think it’s a lot more efficient to deal with the sweaters/sweatshirts than to go through the thousands of t-shirts at a thrift store.

Plus, I feel like the high dollar items are in the fall clothing. Nice jackets, hoodies, etc.

Then there’s the formal wear. I can’t turn away from a Harris Tweed blazer, and they just don’t sell quickly, especially for higher dollar #’s. They will sell, but I just need to be patient. Patience is just hard to come by when there’s no sales!

Pricing

For any items under $29.99, I’ve tried to remove the Best Offer option. I found that buyers were haggling over $1 or $2 EVERY SINGLE TRANSACTION! If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the buyer who is going to try to get ever $1 off a sale is also the one who’s going to cause the most problems.

The thing is, I’ve gotten about 5-6 offers this week but all have been at about $30 on $50 items. I’ve been struggling since it’s a slow week and I want to get some sales, but I also don’t want to sell an item under value. Literally none of the buyers responded to my counters of $45 or $40, so who knows.

The vacation

Instead of putting my store on vacation, I changed the handling time on my listings from 1 day to 10 days. This definitely slows sales, but then you don’t lose your TRS status. I have a feeling that this may take some time to propagate back through the eBay system, and I’m sure it will be flushed out once the items are re-listed.

The season

Summer is slow for all retail. It’s just how it goes. Why should we expect any different on eBay? Amazon had they’re big Prime Day so they could find a hump instead of a valley in the summer.

‘Tis the Season for Garage Sales

I may have had to look up where that apostrophe should go. I found this helpful comic on the way! Gotta love the Oatmeal!

Another reason my profits were low this month are because of garage sales. The east coast is just full of them right now.

This is the first month I’ve gone over $200 in purchases all year. Our basement floor (the work area) is literally piled with stuff for me to process and list.

It’s really overwhelming to see these things pile up like this (and a little embarrassing when neighbors stop by), but it’s going to bring in a lot of money WHEN I GET IT LISTED. I know that’s the issue (it’s been the issue since January).

Fluid Goals

Since I was able to put away a big chunk of the money for our Hvac/Furnace/Water Heater (or 2/3 of it really) so quickly, we actually diverted the funds to some new doors (2 storm doors, a rear entry door, and a walkout sliding door). Paid in cash and covered by eBay.

I feel like this is slightly short-sighted (since we know we want to replace these items in the next few years), but I also feel comfortable in our financial situation in case one of those appliances dies.

As for now, I’m going to go downstairs and list, but I don’t expect a huge boost in sales anytime in the future. I am listing some different types of items.  So, I figure that can’t hurt!

On one more side note, I’ve modified my Beeminder goal to lessen the burden. I didn’t want to just go ahead and say “lower the goal.” Instead, I added any sales to my total which lets me list less when I’m selling well. (I need to list/sell 15 items per week). The thing is, I also have to spend time/energy on those items when I sell, and it’s such a precious resource in my household, something had to give!

Question to the readers:

How was your July? Slow sales? Nice vacations? Any good finds?

Image Credit: Zefram