It is time for a first-of-the-year eBay house cleaning. It’s not easy but it is super important to the financial well-being of your eBay business.
- Lynn Recommends: Helping a Mom out (that would be me!)
- Special Announcement: USPS Rate Changes & eBay Deadlines
- Feature Article: Slow-Moving Inventory–When is it time?
- The Queen’s Update: Requesting more stories from YOU
This ezine is published every two weeks.
January 29, 2009, Volume V, Issue 3
I hope you have been doing great! We have undertaken a huge project here at The Queen of Auctions. We are attempting to take about 3,000 items out of my eBay store, donate them to charity, and clean up the eBay room.
I know it sounds crazy and it really is! We had no idea how much work it was going to be. Carmen, Mo, and I have decided to keep it more streamlined on a regular basis and that is the reason for this week’s feature article. Don’t miss my top three tips in, “Slow Moving Inventory, When is it Time to Say Goodbye?”
Check out the antique baby shoes on my eBay site. I bought them at an estate sale for $3.75 last weekend. Maybe I’ll have a runner. This might make a good story for your book. They still have three days for the auction to end.
Queens Court Member
Check out Linda’s auction here.
Boy did Linda have a runner! And they weren’t even running shoes. (Just kidding!) But I am definitely going to be looking for antique dolls and children’s shoes. Too cute.
As you read this, I am on my way to Phoenix to watch a little bit of the FBR PGA Tour open and relax. I also hope to hit some good thrift stores (not golf balls) in the Scottsdale area. Does anyone know of some hidden thrift store gems?
The Queen’s Court Christmas Gift of a book to sell on eBay has had some pretty fun results. Check out this book that Polly received that has sold for the most money so far! It was a World War I book signed by the author. Pretty cool for coming out of my freezer. Ha Ha!
See Polly’s book here.
I want to update you on how that Huge collection of Heath pottery did. We sold quite a bit of it. Actually, almost all of it, and I more than doubled my initial investment of $500. What a relief! The one-piece that sold for the most and took me by surprise was a salad plate in the Raspberry pattern. The salad plate sold for more than that huge beautiful serving bowl seen below.
Check out the salad plate here. You will not believe what it sold for!! And I think I may have finally beaten Mo’s record for selling a plate for the most money. I can’t remember what her dinner plate sold for–I think it was close to this salad plate’s price–so she may still be winning that battle, but I bet she hasn’t had a salad plate sell for this much!!! Yipppeee.
Check out this beautiful bowl that sold for less than a salad plate!
You just never know do you?
It was true that most Heath was done in earth tones so the colored pieces are rare.
In the Lynn Recommends section, I am asking for your help. One of my favorite students, DivaDawnLV, sent me the nicest email. It was about a contest to pick a favorite mom-run business and she thought I should enter. Please read this section to learn more and place your vote. I would appreciate it greatly!
In the Special Announcement section, we have some important announcements. Don’t miss this. It has key dates for making changes to your eBay auctions and some info about the USPS rate changes.
Finally, we are looking for more of your stories. Read below to find out how to submit your stories for consideration.
Here is that email I got from DivaDawnLV and why I signed up for the contest on StartupNation.
I’m sure you’ve received this email. I’m just forwarding it to encourage you to sign up for the Top Mom-Run Businesses competition. I think you do a marvelous job of both running your business and being a mom — not to mention being a friend, daughter, sister and all around terrific person. No one can sign you up, you have to do it yourself, so please do! And then let everyone know that you are participating. I can think of “one or two” folks who might vote for you!
Please go here and place your vote. I would really appreciate it! It has been a lot of fun so far.
A postal employee friend of mine (Robin) has helped to clarify the changes that went into effect on January 18th….
Express Mail & Priority Mail change on January 18th
…there is a new Flat Rate box coming out soon, so there will be four Flat Rate boxes and the Flat Rate envelope to chose from.
As far as First Class, we are still being told next May, up a penny on stamps…but with this economy, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s incorrect. Sorry I don’t know much. Lame, right? Hahaha! They love keeping us in the dark. Happy New Year to you, too, Lynn!
Here is a link to order that new small flat rate box from USPS. We ordered ours about a week ago but they still haven’t shown up. Can’t wait to use them!
The priority international rates are part of this change, so I have redone the handy laminated USPS International Postal Rate Chart. Get yours here at a great preorder price with free shipping and be ready for the new changes!
This is what eager customers had to say about last year’s chart while they were waiting for theirs to arrive:
“By the way, I need one of those new charts.”
“I am having withdrawals. I have two international questions that I can’t answer. I am lost without it.”
“Where is it?”
You can purchase your laminated easy reference chart here(with f.ree shipping!)
We ship a lot of items internationally. As I have always said, the only way to ship economically overseas is by USPS. So, when the USPS changed their rates on January 19th, I knew that I needed to redo the USPS International Cheat Sheet.
If you want to own it laminated with the extra information on the backside, it is available for purchase here. By the way, this chart can save you hours each week. I use it at least once every day if not twice a day. We will even ship it for f.ree! Now that is something the USPS Will NOT do! But hurry, this special offer is only good for ten days.
Click here to order now.
Some important eBay dates:
January 29th (Yes that is today–eBay moved the deadline to later–pushing it from the 15th to the 29th): Paper payments as an option (Personal check, money order, or cashier check) must be removed from the item description.
January 20th: The old “My eBay” is going away. According to eBay, only 10% are using the old page and 90% have already migrated to the new “My eBay.”
March 16th to the 31st: Sellers must specify return policy and handling time in their listings.
FYI: I have been working on updating all of my older listings and because I had 8,000 items in Turbo Lister, it completely crashed. Turbo Lister tells me that it is best suited for sellers with 1,000 or fewer items. Bummer! They recommended that I sign up for Blackthorne (which I have), but it costs me $9.00 a month extra! I have not been able to find out how to sort by the date listed in Blackthorne–which was such a great feature in Turbo Lister.
‘Slow-Moving Inventory–When is it time to say Goodbye? (Instead of Good Buy!)
by Lynn Dralle, The Queen of Auctions
As I was sitting in my eBay room this past Sunday, pulling items out of my eBay store to donate to charity, I realized that it was my Grandmother’s birthday.
She would have been 97 years young. It is amazing that I still miss her every day and she has been gone for 8 1⁄2 years. What really got me thinking about my grandmother was the fact that I was going through the collector’s plates that had been listed in my eBay store since the beginning of time (or for at least five years!).
My grandmother had a special room built in her house to hold all these collector’s plates. Many of you have read about it in my books, but it was called The Tank and it was fireproof. It was a really creepy place!
It was entirely made of cement and had just one tiny 12″ by 12″ window. If you ever got locked inside (behind the huge heavy steel door), there was really no way out.
I always propped the door open with something super heavy when I was working inside. One summer, she paid me 75 cents an hour to categorize and arrange the entire place.
I worked on the tank for 100 hours and I earned $75.00, enough for half of my ten-speed bike. Do you remember those bikes with curved handles? My parents paid the other half and were so proud of how hard I worked as a twelve-year-old.
The tank was about 30 feet long and 25 feet wide. It had 40 or so shelves in it that housed the 10,000-plus collector’s plates that my grandmother carried. She had them from every vendor imaginable. Fenton, Bing & Grondahl, Royal Copenhagen, Hummel, Lladró, Franklin Mint, Veneto Flair, Berlin, Royale, Porsgrund, Norman Rockwell, etc. etc. She bought them all-new from the factories in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the collector’s plate market was at its peak.
The money she made from those collector’s plates actually paid to build an addition onto her house. In that addition was the tank. During a different summer, when I was working for her, I made the decision that we needed some type of floor plan of the tank so that we could find the plates we needed quickly.
I drew a very detailed map and put the letters a through pp on it for each shelf in order.
Then I wrote the names of the plate makers like this in alphabetical order. I taped it on the back of the door. That way it was easy to find the shelves with the plate you were looking for.
Bing & Grondahl–Shelf C
Count Agazzi–Shelf Z
Fast forward to working on my eBay room that currently houses about 10,000 plus items. Much like the tank! Strange how life is so cyclical. At least I wasn’t working that night in a cold dark cement room. I was in my house, in my cozy (yet cluttered) eBay room.
My new year’s resolution is to get that room organized and easier to manage. To start with, we decided to pull about 3,000 slow-moving items out of my eBay store. I have had Mo working on it for several weeks now and here she and Carmen are in our new and even more cramped quarters!
Mo would NOT turn around for the photo.
Since it has turned out to be such a huge undertaking, I thought I would share with you my top three tips for when it is time to say “Good Bye” instead of “Good Buy” to your inventory!
#1: If an item has been in your eBay store for 2-3 Years, it is time to Let Go.
I had already decided to re-letter all of my shelves so that they would be in alphabetical order. (Strangely reminiscent of the tank). And I have placed all the new letters on the 104 shelves. We go from A to ZZZZ and there are enough shelves for two years’ worth of merchandise (2 times 52 weeks is 104 shelves). I had just the perfect number of shelves. Funny how life works out so well when you intend for it to do so.
Check out my new A-E shelf.
Our plan is that each week as I list my new 100 items, I will place them on the shelf that is two years old. To do that, I will need to purge a shelf of slow-moving inventory each week. That way, it will not get overwhelming and have to be done 3,000 pieces at a time!
Carmen and I have discussed it and when I move and consolidate shelves during the year, items get placed on the wrong shelves. With our new system, we will never move items off of their shelf until they either sell or need to be purged. We are excited to get everything moved and in its right place so we can start 2009 off on a great foot.
Tip #2: When Purging Inventory–look at the data and make decisions. Add features like ‘Make Best Offer.”
As I went through my entire stock of collector’s plates that evening (and I had nowhere near my Grandmother’s record of 10,000 plus), I pulled up each item in my store and looked at the data.
I checked how many I had on hand, how many had sold, how many people had looked at the listing, and if my listings contained a handling time and a return policy.
I did this for several reasons:
A. If I had a lot on hand at $9.99 and none had sold, they were immediately pulled from my eBay store.
Here is a photo of some of the collector’s plates
that did not make the cut.
B. If I had a large quantity at a price higher than $9.99 and none had sold, I added the “Make Best Offer” feature and also marked them down.
C. If I only had one plate on hand, a lot of people had viewed it, and it still hadn’t sold for $9.99, I pulled it.
D. If I was keeping a listing, I checked the handling time and a return policy–since I was already editing them, this made a lot of sense. If they didn’t have these required items, I added them. Just doing some of my work for that March 15th deadline.
E. If I was leaving the plates in my eBay store, I checked to make sure that the quantity on hand was correct. In 50% of the cases, it was not right.
F. If the plate was not listed on eBay at all (and this happened with about 10 different plates), I relisted them.
Here is one of those plates. I love this plate because it was made for the 10-year anniversary of the NADA (National Association of Dealers in Antiquities) of which my Grandmother was a charter member.
G. I kept all the better-named plates (The Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grondahl) and adjusted the price points.
Tip #3: Sometimes an Exception: How to Deal with Dinnerware Sets and Flatware Sets.
I look at dinnerware sets and flatware sets differently than other items. These can be an exception to my first tip. Sometimes I buy very expensive sets of china and flatware and I price them quite high. If this is the case, I will not take them out of my eBay store at the end of two, three, or even four years. It depends upon how much of the set is left.
If everything has sold except for the cups and saucers and the bread plates, I will take those pieces out after two years.
If pieces have been selling slowly but steadily and I still have some of the major serving pieces remaining, I will use tip #2, add the “Make Best Offer” feature, and leave them in my eBay store.
Here is a serving piece from a Haviland set that I bought about four years ago. I paid $800 for that set! I got 150 pieces in the set so each piece only cost me about $5.00 each. I have sold a lot of it–so as you can see–I have added the “Make Best Offer” feature to the remaining pieces.
If I have a set where absolutely nothing has sold and everything is priced at $9.99, outcomes the entire set–maybe even before the two-year mark.
It really is a balancing act to keep good, quick-selling inventory in your eBay store. It is very important to look at it by the date listed and make decisions not based on emotion but rather based on data.
If you do this, you will have more room in your eBay storage area for new merchandise and you will keep your workspace clean and uncluttered.
Can’t wait to show you a picture of our new and improved workspace in the next month or so!
WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE?
See Lynn’s past ezines here.
We are looking for your eBay success stories to share with our ezine readers and possibly make it into a book of our reader’s best eBay stories.
A big thanks to everyone who has already submitted a story! We are looking for more great stories of your eBay adventures. We know there are many great tales out there, so please submit your story along the lines of the stories from the 100 Best Books and a great side story with photos will help. If we use your story, you will receive a $35 merchandise credit on my website and you will have your story featured–along with your user ID–in my ezine! It may also eventually end up in a published book!
By the way, when I mention my ezine readers’ user IDs with links to their auctions–it actually helps their sales! Amazing how that works. Click here for the guidelines for submitting your stories.
eBay PowerSeller and third-generation antique dealer, Lynn Dralle, is the creator of Boot Camp in a Box, the home-study course where you can learn to implement the Dralle Method to maximize your eBay profits.
If you liked today’s issue, you’ll love this step-by-step course that is guaranteed to be the most complete and enjoyable guide to selling on eBay that MAKES YOU MONEY.
Read all about it here.
The Queen of Auctions also offers articles, teleseminars, how-to books, tracking guides, DVDs, eBay Boot Camp training, and other resources to help entrepreneurs make their eBay business a six-figure sales machine. Click here to learn more.
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Lynn is an experienced eBay Power Seller, author, and teacher. If you want to know the eBay tips, tricks, and tools that Lynn uses for buying and selling at an online auction click here.