Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our eBay Month - Nov 2011

November was a very good eBay month for us, our best this year by far. 

Our postcard sales were better than average, and our photo sales (cabinet, cdv, snapshots, other antique photos) went through the roof.  We sold more photos this month than we have sold in any other month, by far.  We sold them in unheard of amounts, at least for us.  It was as if people suddenly discovered we sell photos.  I'm not sure why this was, maybe it was the holiday period, though none of the photos had a holiday theme.  Maybe it was domestic free shipping, but we've had that for a long time now.  So, we don't really know why sales spiked, which means there's nothing we can really reproduce to ensure continued sales.  So we'll do what we always do: list nice photos and describe them accurately,  price them reasonably, give free shipping to domestic USA address, package them up securely and get them mailed within one business day, and provide best customer service we can. 

November 2011 was the best month for us since December 2010, and even there, there is a caveat.  The only reason our gross in December 2010 was higher than last month was because of consignment sales.  Consignment sales accounted for 1/3rd or our total gross that month, and over half of our consignment sales was due to a sale of a fairly expensive item on the last day of the year.  Our net (which I see as our profit) for Dec 2010, was actually somewhat less than our net for November 2011.   You have to go back to July of 2009 to find a month where our net was higher than last month.  November was a good month.

And much of the July 2009 sales came via very strong consignment sales that month - it's funny, I can still remember what we were selling then.  Even though "Consignment" is still part of our store name, we don't really do consignment any more.

When sales go up, fees & expenses go up.  eBay charges a fee to list, a fee if an item sells, and a store subscription fee.  PayPal charges a fee when money is deposited into your account.  Fees get pricey.   Business expenses, especially postage, were quite high in November.  But I take the view that if the fees and expenses have increased, that means the sales have increased.  And the higher the sales, the over all less of a percentage expenses are.  This, by the way, is one reason large business can make a huge amount of money while small business struggle.  Just a little social commentary.

Our gross (and net) for Nov 2011 was almost twice as much as Nov 2010.   Interesting. 

Nov 2011 was a month of extremes.  On November 23rd, the day before Thanksgiving, we had nothing to ship.  We were skunked - for the first time since sometime in 2009 we went a day without receiving any payments.  In the days that followed though, we set and then promptly broke a record (for us) for the amount of items shipped out in a single day. 

I've noticed we're getting quite a bit of repeat business - customers who buy things then return later and buy more.  In fact the repeat business has driven a lot of our sales, it's a good thing to have.

It's very hard to predict what sales will be.  October & November were very good months, July and August were terrible.  Back in 2008 there was a month when we actually lost money.  I have no idea how December will turn out, though right now it's looking pretty good.  We'll keep our fingers crossed.

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