Although we are also seeing late March snow flurries as well. Yesterday, I took five packages – count ’em! – to the post office. Two were Etsy sales and three were Ebay. This is the biggest bump in sales since the beginning of February.
Now sales on ebay are nearly always due to demand. If I don’t sell an item within a couple of weeks, I assume I will never sell it. Never is too strong a word, some things do sell after months of being listed. Evidently perfume and cologne are in high demand though and I sold all 4 bottles that I listed almost two weeks ago. Not that I made a lot of money, these were definitely worth selling just to get out of the house.
My other ebay sale was a set of piano books, an adult learning series. I have a ton of piano books ranging from antique pages to “like new” instruction books. I had to cut the price in order to sell this set and I believe that I will have to do the same for all of them.
As for Etsy, I sold some silver serving pieces after a bit of negotiating with the buyer. I was happy to sell half of a set that I’ve had listed since I opened shop along with a relish fork that was a brand new listing. My other sale was a yellow enamelware set which has been taking up some space, so much happiness there.
After all those details about what I sold, I am pondering the eternal question for sellers: what do people want? Or, why don’t people want my stuff? Are my prices too high? My pictures not good? Listing title and tags not drawing customers?
Notice how my questions got more specific? I’ll answer some of them for myself.
- What do people want? Cross out people and insert customers. This question has no answer, or the answer is infinite like pi. When I try to pursue sales by following trends that I notice, I nearly always fail. The only way to get sales by trying to provide what you think people want is to sell brand names or known classic items. So yes, it is always worth selling designer handbags and signed jewelry – but if you are buying these items to resell, be careful what you pay.
- Why don’t people want my stuff? Painful to reckon but in the vintage sales world, it bounces back to carrying what people want. And if I want it or wanted it, probably someone else will too. Unless it is chipped or cracked or flawed, although sometimes buyers accept that. This is where to equation goes to More Viewers=More Sales. Likely my sales this week are a result of heavy promotion last week, courtesy of A4 Team.
- Are my prices too high? Probably some are and some are not. I generally check out prices on Etsy and Ebay and price my items in the middle. Unfortunately, there are no tools on Etsy to help sellers figure out what price items have sold for. One thing I do know is that cutting prices or offering discounts has little effect.
- Pictures not good? This is a powerful drawing card and I need to retake dozens of pictures in my Etsy shop. I’d rather take Ebay pictures any day of the week because they don’t have to be pretty but they do have to be clear and thorough. Jewelry pictures are the most difficult for me, especially if rhinestones are involved. So I know this is an area that I could improve upon – meanwhile I have dozens of items that still need to be photographed and listed.
- Listing titles and tags. Back to brand names and designer names – if an item has a specific brand like Roseville Pottery or Mephisto shoes, it will be found in a search. Where my item will fall in that search is another question (SEO) that I don’t want to go into in depth. But how to lure in buyers that might be interested in a shiny fabric disco-era shirt? Or a fascinating piece of Art Deco pottery that has no name on it? I use lots of keywords like Art Deco or Disco era, I’ve even used Mad Men era a couple of times. Those are so broad that there is little chance anyone will find my item using that sort of term. Frankly, I am still debating what is the best way to spend my time – making new photos and revising listings for seo relevancy or “playing” promotional games which increase my odds of being seen in buyer’s feeds. And of course, listing new items.
I guess that means less time blogging, whatever choices I make! Sorry this is a no frills, no pictures post today. If you’re an online vendor, how do you prioritize your time? What would you say is the most important consideration regarding sales? As for buyers, how do you shop online? Do you regularly go to Etsy or Ebay, or do you just start by using a search engine for something specific?
Would love to hear some comments!