Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our eBay Month - May 2011

Well April is no longer our worse sales month this year.  May now holds that dubious honor.

Our business is really divided into three sections, 1) postcards 2) photographs 3)Victorian Trade Cards.  We sell other random items occasionally, but the core of our business by far is the sale of single postcards (as opposed to postcard 'lots') and old photographs.  Although I consider Trade Cards to be a main part of the business, postcards and photos is where we concentrate most of the energy.

Our sales of postcards in May was about average.  We actually sold more postcards in May than we did in April, and for a somewhat higher price.  Our sales of photos & trade cards were below average.  In fact Trade Cards only generated about 1/3rd of the money they did in April. 

The trade card sales data in April is a tad askew however, because one of our cards sold for a lot of money.  It got multiple bids, and kept going up and up.  I remember when it hit $40.00, we looked at each other and wondered what these people knew that we didn't.  It went a lot higher, and as a result the we got quite a bit more money for Trade Cards in April than normal, even though we sold pretty much the same number of cards we always do.  Honestly, I would have been happy with $5.00 for that card, and I still don't know what was so special about it.

So in May, postcard and photo sales were roughly equal (actually a little higher) than in April, but Trade Card sales were not.  Hence our gross sales were somewhat lower.   Also, as luck would have it, our business expenses were higher in May than in April.  It all combined to make May a dismal month net sales wise.  April was a bad month, May was worse.

Now a serious question is why have April & May been so poor?  I'm keeping my eye on "Free Shipping".  We recently expanded it.   Not the best timing perhaps - the post office increased their rates - but eBay is implementing changes which make offering Free Shipping advantageous.   However I think this may be a culprit.  Shipping costs are consistently our 2nd highest monthly expense, & we'll have to watch this closely.  If sales don't increase as a result of free shipping, we lose money.

The first 4 days of June have been very good though, I have no idea if it will hold or not.  So far the best month this year has been January.   

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