Friday, September 2, 2011

Our eBay month - August 2011

August was better than July, but the business is still following a trend that I would like to reverse.

How good or bad a month we have is determined by a few factors: the number of items we sell, the amount we're able to sell them for, our business expenses and eBay policies (which are closely entwined with our business expenses).

In August we actually sold somewhat fewer postcards and antique photos than we did in July, but we sold quite a bit more trade cards.  Also, there is a quirk of the way I keep records.  I update the totals on the days we ship - I somehow feel like it isn't legal unless it's paid for, packaged and on its way, and it helps me keep organized. We ship Monday thru Saturday, everyday the post office is open.  July had a holiday, and because of the way the days fell there were 25 shipping days in July.  In August, there were 27 shipping days.  For monthly totals, it doesn't matter how many days there were, but it does matter for daily averages of sales and transactions, and I watch that closely.

Overall, we sold more items in July than August, but we got a better price for things in August, so our "gross" haul was slightly better than in July. 

The important number though is not the gross, but the net, the amount we have left over after expenses.  The net for August was significantly higher than July, and this happened for a couple of reasons.  Our postcard & antique photo sales were down slightly, both in number and dollar amount, but we had a pretty good Victorian Trade Card month.   In addition, our monthly business expenses were much lower than average. 

I'm very interested in why business expenses were lower, and I some reasons I know, and others I have theories. 

First, our direct eBay payment was noticeably lower.  eBay charges listing fees whenever we list something for sale, and a final value fee if it actually sales.  Until last month the FVF on most items we sold was 12%.  Last month eBay lowered the FVF to 11%, but included shipping and handling charges in the FVF calculation, something they had not done before.  For people who have a shipping and handling charge on their items, their expenses just went up.  We don't charge shipping and handling on any items we ship to a domestic USA shipping address, so this change resulted in somewhat lower eBay fees for us.

Second, the amount we paid for postage was much less than what we paid in July.  I print postage labels online when I can, and we purchase stamps in bulk (by the roll, etc) as needed.  We just didn't purchase as much in August as we normally do.

The increase in the amount we netted for August was significant, and 80% of that came from reduced expenses, which does not really make me happy.  Our daily sales average in August was less than in July, and the average transactions as well as the average number of items sold per day were also lower than July.  This continues a trend that started in January - the daily averages for each month this year have been less than the month before (with the exception of June).  I don't like this and I'm not sure what to do about it.

September has started fairly slowly. Sigh.


Jenny Woolf said...

I get the impression that ebay is making things harder. I know a few people with ebay businesses and they say it is slanted in favour of the big boys. I'm talking about the British eBay though so it may be different in US.

A Valdese Blogger said...

Jenny Wooof: I agree with everything you wrote. But we keep pluggging away & so far we've always been able to squeeze out some extra money. Thanks for reading & commenting!