Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Computer eBay Inventory Spreadsheet

Why my Inventory Spreadsheet is a Lifesaver – eBay Process

Dollar Flipper Process 23 Comments

Last week, we started the discussion about my eBay process, and I received a lot of help on the dress that I’m going to list. This week, I’m going to fill in the gap with how I store all of the information I gather during research and the ensuing steps of the process – a really big spreadsheet.

Once again, let’s start with my overall eBay process:

  1. Purchase item
  2. Research/Prep Item
  3. Measure, Photograph, and Store item
  4. Clean up Photos/List Item
  5. Pack/Ship Sold item

The biggest thing I missed in my research post is how I store the data about my item (and lots of other important information from the listing process)! Kind of important.

I couldn’t decide when I should discuss my spreadsheet. It touches nearly all of my process steps, but I think it’s foundational. Knowing how I store the information will give context to my whole process. I’ll still go in detail for steps 3, 4, and 5 in future posts over the next few weeks!

I use a spreadsheet that stores information across the steps 2 through 5. This spreadsheet is saved in the cloud on my Microsoft OneDrive. OneDrive is very similar to Dropbox, but I can’t use Dropbox on my Surface Pro 2 RT.

Is this an ideal setup? Probably not. Using a spreadsheet is a manual process.

It isn’t the best option, but I’m doing this side hustle by myself and have to work in three spaces: the kitchen table (where my laptop is), the basement (where my desktop computer and eBay tools are located), and the garage (boxes, storage tubs, and shelving). At any given part of the process, I can work in one location at a time which saves in ‘transit time’. Any six sigma people will love the lack of “movement.” If I can access this spreadsheet anywhere, I can do a lot of different steps anywhere!

This all comes down to a spreadsheet that sits in the cloud.

Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Computer eBay Inventory Spreadsheet

The cloud doesn’t sound as ridiculous to me as it did when it started getting booted around…

Super Awesome Inventory Spreadsheet

Spreadsheet eBay Inventory Screenshot Clothing Measurement

I know the font is a bit tiny. Don’t worry. I’ll talk about each column throughout the rest of this post.

  • Storage Location
  • Inventory/Item Number
  • Title
  • Category/Type
  • Tag Size
  • Material
  • Country of Manufacture
  • Condition
  • Links from Research/Reference
  • 3 columns for various measurements
  • Weight
  • Old columns that I don’t use anymore (dealing with costs of goods sold, sales price, fees, etc. – all of this minus the COGS is in GoDaddy Bookkeeping)
  • Special Notes – Color Coding

The order of these is a combination of entering information left-to-right and having the information I’m going to need later right at my fingertips.

The main goal with this spreadsheet is mobility and ease of listing. Hopefully, I can just copy/paste all of this information right into the listing.


Storage Location/Inventory Number

Even though this column is first, it’s the last to get filled out, right before I store the item. I’ll take a quick look at my storage tubs’ levels and find one that will fit the items I’m trying to photograph and store that day.

The inventory number is just a sequential number of items on the spreadsheet. I drag the cell downwards, and Excel adds “1” to the previous number.

Title

We all know how important the eBay title is even with all the emphasis on item specifics. I try to have exactly what I’m going to include in my eBay listing detailed out in this cell. I copy a relevant title from a previously sold item, modify any colors, model numbers, or sizing, and then include that in my proposed title.

Category

I’m debating about removing this column. It’s normally just a quick thing and doesn’t’ necessarily tie into eBay’s categories. The eBay categories have breadcrumb trails (multiple levels). I just include things like “men’s shirt” or “electronics”. This has helped in the past to help  me sort items and find information quickly (maybe for a misplaced item).

Size Tag/Material/Country of Manufacture

Again, I’m trying to gather as much information as possible early on. Most of this information is required for item specifics and is especially important for international sales. The Global Shipping Program asks for a country of manufacture. It isn’t required, but I imagine that including the country decreases any chances for delays in customs.

Condition

The types of information I include in the condition field has evolved over time. When I started, I included abstract descriptions like “Excellent used condition!” or “Awesome!” or “Nice!” I haven’t had a situation where this came back to bite me, but I like to remove the ambiguity.

I include any flaws – “small mark near bottom of right cuff” or “size tag is faded, please see measurements”. Then I describe if something is working or how I tested it.

This cell is critical.

I try to find all of the issues during my research portion, but I’m not always successful with that. For some reason, some stains just jump out at you once you’re photographing an item. Maybe those thrifter’s goggles just take a bit of time to wear off? Either way, I can quickly add to it during any future step of the listing process

Pro-Tip – If you have a large amount of items in your listing (maybe 6 pairs of pants,) all with specific information about condition, size, color, etc.,  use Notepad to detail out the list. You can copy this text directly into an Excel cell, and it will keep the formatting (all of the returns and spacing). This can then be copied right into eBay when listing. I’ve tried to write it out inside of a cell, and it’s just not pretty. Hitting the Enter button in Excel switches cells instead of adding in a return.

Links from Research

I don’t do anything fancy for this cell. I copy and paste a link from my eBay research (or google or whatever), whether it’s a search result with multiple listings or an individual item. When I’m listing, I’ll paste this into my browser and use “sell similar” on a relevant item.

Some of the important information like item category and brand automatically get pulled in. Sometimes I won’t get to list an item that I’ve researched for a few weeks. I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday, let alone something that I researched for 3 minutes a few weeks ago! Having a saved URL of a similar item removes my personal memory from the listing process.

Measurements

There was a bit of scandal over at Scavenger Life when someone mentioned that they don’t put any measurements in their listings. This doesn’t jive well with me. Measurements describe items with worn size tags or vintage items that don’t’ fit like current styles. If you’re selling newer shoes or clothing still with the tags, then you might not need to include the information. If you’re selling something that’s older (even if it still has its tags), I lean towards including measurements.

I break my measurements out into several different types, but in general, they include some combination of the following, all measured when the clothing is flat:

  • Chest – measure between armpit seems across chest and doubled
  • Waist – measure across top of pants and double
  • Length – For shirts, measure from bottom of collar to bottom of shirt, for pants measure along side of pants from top of waist to bottom of cuff
  • Inseam – measure from crotch seam to bottom of cuff
  • Rise – For women’s pants only – measure from crotch seam to top of pants
  • Sleeve length – preferred – shoulder seam to bottom of cuff. If there isn’t a shoulder seam, I’ll measure from the pit seam to the cuff. This is usually a few inches shorter though and I try to make it clear that it’s not the normal sleeve length measurement.
  • Cuff – measurement of across leg cuff and doubled.
  • Shoulder to Shoulder – This is very important for suits. A lot of the other areas can be taken in, but if the shoulder measurement is too tight, there’s nothing a tailor can do.

To make it easier to list, I have some .txt files stored on Dropbox and pinned to my laptop’s taskbar. This lets me copy paste the template into my listing (all just text, no HTML or code) and then I can plug in the measurements that I took in my eBay workspace.

P.S. Don’t worry, I’ll go into a bit more detail in my next eBay Process post with that weird dress.

Weight

I am in the Free Shipping crowd. I build the price into my item cost, and it works well for me. There’s a lot of back and forth about it, but no one really knows the right answer.

Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, you’ll need to have a rough estimate of how much your item weighs before you list it. This will either be used for calculated shipping for your buyer, it will help you in pricing your item, and it is used in Global Shipping Program international sales.

I don’t know what would happen if the weight was wrong and it was sold GSP. I’m sure it’s happened, but I try to get the number right! Don’t forget to include the weight of a box.

Old columns that I don’t use anymore

When I developed the inventory spreadsheet, I dreamed of using it to calculate all of my tax information. Well, that’s nearly impossible, or at least more work than I want to deal with. Dreams are nice, but it’s the actual use that shows us what we need.

Instead, I’ve just stopped using these price calculations. I track my average cost of goods by including the information in my YNAB purchases (they let you have a memo field – I just include the # of items so I can do an average at the end of the year), and all of my expenses get tracked in GoDaddy Bookkeeping nearly automatically.

Color Coding

I love the newer versions of Microsoft Excel. Changing over from the previous versions was a bit of a shock, but now I couldn’t go back. There are so many features on that handy “ribbon” that I can reach very quickly, where in the past there were multiple layers of clicks that have been completely eliminated.

One of my favorite improvements is the “Cell Styles.” Color coding used to require clicking on the little paint bucket, finding the color you wanted, highlighting the text, and then clicking it again. You’d have to switch colors all the time. It was not ideal. Instead, the cell styles store some of these generic color schemes and lets you select text, select the style, and voila! You now have perfectly colored text! The red (bad), green (good), and yellow (neutral) are my preferred styles.

I use this to designate between listed and non-listed items. When I haven’t listed an item, the whole row remains white. Once I list, I color code it as yellow (the Neutral cell style).

I used to color code sold items as green, but I haven’t updated that in a while. It would be good to clear out the sold items at some point (I’ve benefited from some purging on Facebook. Why not on my eBay inventory list?) and to really evaluate some of the super old items (like over 2 years). I don’t have to deal with them, since they’re already stored but who knows, maybe I should tidy up their listings? I can’t decide if this would be worth the time.

 

This post is definitely a little longer than I thought it would be, but hopefully, as I dive deeper into the next few steps of the process, the whole picture will be a little clearer. My spreadsheet isn’t perfect, but it does let me be a little more mobile. I’ve used paper and pencil for inventory in the past, and it was a damn mess. This is definitely an improvement!

How do you track your eBay inventory?

 

Image Credit: Perspecsys Photos

Comments 23

  1. WOW – this is insanely impressive. No wonder I don’t make that much with eBay, I would just throw the stuff up there. Sometimes, I do a quick search to check comparable items. Keep up the good work and thanks for the tips!

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      Author

      Thank you! If you’re only selling a few things that you know are at a loss, no big deal. I think I got a bit more serious once I hit the 50 item mark. I had a pile that was starting to overwhelm me, and I needed to reign it in a bit.

  2. I’m impressed with the level of detail you have. You haven’t left anything out. I guess it all pays off when you listing your items, since everything you need is on the list!

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      Author
  3. Oh geez, I wrote out this mega response only I posted it on the entry with the dress by accident!! Is there a way to put it over here? Maybe I can copy and paste and you can delete the other one? I was THAT excited to have found you!! Dana

    1. Hi there, I am very interested in your method, and I would like to ask some questions about it. I am a longtime eBay buyer/seller — started out with baby clothes in the early 2000s when my twin daughters were born, but I have since morphed over to primarily GU, NWOT, NWT upscale ladies clothing. My goal is to move my store to the next level and connect socially and all that stuff. I am a Mac user, so my spreadsheet is Numbers. Let me ask you a few things about your list:

      How many ways do you track inventory? You use a spreadsheet, GoDaddy for bookkeeping and something called YNAB? Anything else? Do you use eBay’s Inventory? I have been trying that last one, but it’s just so confusing to me and I suspect is a big fat waste of my time as i tend to have OOAK items, rather than a multitude of the same item in various sizes, etc. Do you use Auctiva or another template service? Someday I will understand THAT and I am hoping it will streamline my process because you just add your info rather than creating the same details every time you create an ebay auction.

      * In your spreadsheet, you track the standard stuff, title, storage location, etc. But you also list category, measurements, weight, material and other details so I am wondering how your work flow actually WORKS. For me, measuring and weight is something I put in the listing, but not the spreadsheet. Perhaps you dont list a lot of items at a time? In my spreadsheet, i have a page for items i plan to list, currently listed stuff and sold stuff. My process is to shop – look up on ebay or terapeak, enter basic details on a to-list page of my spreadsheet, photograph, edit, list and at that time find out weight, fabric content, etc. I tend to list 30-50 items at a time. Why do you research after purchase? Why did you stop using categories for fees, selling price, refunds etc. This for me is a super big hassle and i am always playing catch-up on adding my ebay and pp fees, refunds, etc. super time consuming and I would love to not do that anymore. I do not currently use a bookkeeping program.

      * LOVE your idea about copying in reference links. I sell clothes and the higher up salespeople use different terminology to describe current fashions. It is SO confusing: burnout tops, ombre dip-dyes, sharkbite hems. I could go on …. but i will spare you that much, LOL!

      • I am so confused about item specifics. I am experimenting with adding terms that don’t appear in my title. (Why is it, do you suppose, that eBay wants all these words used in titles such as career, sleeve length, everyday or evening wear — obviously I think of clothing related items! — when the top price selling items don’t. Terapeak tells me that the most basic information in titles is what sells the most, not necessarily the most EXPENSIVE, but size, brand, color, words like plus, item condition are always the best movers. I don’t get it.

      • You use the global shipping program on eBay? It’s notorious for damaging packages — I used to use it, but I had several items opened and sloppily repacked resulting in a return or demand for money back. Yuck.

      • Never thought of a condition cell before, genius! I have thrifting goggles myself — you have to move fast or you spend half your day combing through trash for the gems. I have made lots of mistakes and missed some glaring faults, but I am improving as the years pass. I catch many things in the picture taking part

      • Only a fool would fail to include measurements given the variance of different brand sizings. And yet, I have two items right this minute that are being returned to me because the buyer didn’t bother actually checking HER measurements to see if it matched with the clothes’ sizes. Ugh. Sometimes you just can’t win, right?

      • I am confused about how you are integrating drop box. You create simple text descriptions or templates? Have you tried eBay’s template program. I am so confused about THAT…. along with inventory (which allows you to save a seasonal listing and then trot it out again the next time that season rolls around) I don’t understand what they mean by folders and templates and products.

      • I am trying out shifting to free shipping, too. I am so annoyed that eBay charges me a percentage on actual shipping prices. How is that fair? But I have the occasional super heavy item that it isn’t logical to ship for free — i inherited my father-in-law’s collection of vintage Playboy magazines — A current problem that I am really struggling with is how to send a couple hundred issues to Sweden. ASTRONOMICAL.

      • What is a YNAB purchase? is that another accounting program?

      • Interesting way to color code. As I said soo long ago up at the top of this comment, I have 3 distinct pages for to list, current listings and sold listings (I do that because sometimes the item gets returned or there is an issue with a sale) I only use color coding tor two things (prob because Numbers gives you a basic option of red or green text, 🙂 I highlight in red an item that is in current listings and needs to be moved to solds – with all the info i have been putting into the spread sheet, this part of the job takes forever to do andi am always behind on the task) I highlight in green any item that I pull from one of my numbered storage tubs to answer further questions or if it has somehow possibly has slipped through the cracks and failed to relist. Isn’t it confusing to have it all jumbled together and then colored?

      • How are you managing to purge on facebook? time save or selling via FB? I have been running sale after sale this past month to clear out inventory that’s been hanging out for the last year. I have read conflicting information about the WAY people list and relist. Some folks claim that Good til Canceled is best because search engines like google like the longer listings. On the contrary, Some people claim that it’s to your listing’s benefit to relist — because eBay takes into account the number of watchers in ranking your stuff under best match. I always struggle between similar sale or relist. Have you looked into this?

      Sorry for being so long-winded, but I have been researching intensely for months about how to improve traffic, and you are speaking my language here, so to speak. Thanks so much for sharing your system, Dana
      from stores.ebay.com/anniecocosgems

      Reply

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        Author

        These are all great questions! Let’s get one thing out of the way though.

        Tracking: It all starts with YNAB. YNAB is a budgeting software that my family uses to budget every single dollar we get. It’s helped us save almost 50% of of our income for the past few years. We love it to death. I use it for any transaction (personal or business) since it all comes from the same pool. It’s all manual which helps us really know what we’re spending and re-allocate budget categories as necessary. One of those things (for us) that if we automated, we wouldn’t pay attention to it enough. 🙂
        GoDaddy Bookkeeping – This is kind of like Mint. It automatically imports account information about sales and transactions. I can input mileage in here too. It is for tax bookkeeping purposes. It overlaps with YNAB, but has extra things like PayPal fees (and the mileage). The only gap is that it doesn’t have a method for calculating the actual cost of goods sold. It can track how much you spent for a year, but not how much you’ve actually sold of that inventory. I band-aid this by using the memo field in my YNAB transaction. I just include the total # of items and then at the end of the year I can sum my total spent on new inventory and divide by my total # of items bought. This gives me an average cost of good for the year.
        My spreadsheet – This is for inventory tracking purposes only. I do monitor if I list something also on here as outlined above.

        So, with that out of the way, and this reply getting bigger and bigger, I think I’m going to migrate the rest of the information to a post for Monday. It’s all eBay process relevant, so I love the questions! Please keep them coming. It’s awesome to see others’ perspectives on stuff like this. 🙂

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  4. I used to do the same thing that you do here. But then I switched from a database to just a word document that I store in google drive. It also is accessible from every device I use. When putting the info down, I basically write it up right away as I would in the listing. Describing the item, measurements, etc. And the very end has my inventory identifier and the weight of the item. This way it saves me a lot of time as I can just refer back, copy and paste right into the ebay listing. I find that this saves me time.

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      Yep. I do a bunch of copy pasting too. I’m more of a fan of spreadsheets than word document since they’re sortable (plus I’m an engineer).

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  6. Impressive. I should have some time at the end of this year and I am hoping to organize my eBay room a little bit. Right now, I just have a cabinet where I keep all my listed items and a closet where I have most of my other inventory. Organization and maintaining a spreadsheet on all this stuff would definitely go a long way to improving efficiency on my part.

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      Thanks! We all started there. I used to have one tub. Then I piled on top of the tub. The fun part was keeping the listed from the non-listed. 😀 This hobby/business grows exponentially very easily. It’s awesome!

  7. Pingback: Listing Items - eBay Process - Flipping A Dollar

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      Author

      Wayne, that’s a great idea! I’ll clean up the sheet so it can be used by others and post a link here. I’ll also send you an e-mail with the update. Thanks for the suggestion!

    2. Would like to see it too. I’m an organization nut. Have used Turbo Lister to a degree in keeping inventory ids organized but it is dog slow at times.

  9. I need help with organizing my inventory. I like your idea. Can you tell me the soft ware or give me some advice. Help, help. Delia

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      Author

      I use Excel, but google Sheets or Open Office’s spreadsheet program would work fine too. Go cheap first if you’re not that big.

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