This post is just about December & the 4th quarter of 2011. I'll write another post to sum up the year in a couple of days.
December was a good month for us - better than October, also a good month, not quite as good as November, which was a very good month. I'd gladly take a year full of Decembers.
However, our sales of "single" postcards were down - in fact they were the lowest for the year by far. I don't know why. If we had sold our average amount, then December would have been our best month of the year. We got a fairly good price for them though, but for some reason we sold significantly less than average.
Our sales of photographs (Cabinets, CDVs, other Antique Photos, snapshots etc) were very good, on almost exactly the same level as November. This means we sold significantly more than average. And in December 2011, for the first time in our history we sold more photos than we did postcards. Something for us to ponder.
December also marked our highest photograph sales for a single order, ever. On December 17th we mailed out this large order to a buyer who (sigh) lives in Poland. We've yet to receive feedback or any indication that it's arrived, so fingers crossed for now.
Another interesting thing that happened was yesterday (Dec 31st) an item was returned to us from Germany, marked "insufficient address". It was pretty neat - it had the German custom sticker on it and everything. The other neat thing was that we had mailed it way back on September 14th - about 3 1/2 months ago, with an address label printed from the eBay sales record. We'd never heard a word from this person, no feedback, no emails, had no idea he hadn't received it. It was so long ago that the buyer could not leave feedback now if he wanted to. It was so long ago that the sales record was no longer available to us & we could not refund his money through eBay. So we sent him a message letting him know what happened and sent the back money via paypal to his paypal account. What this means is we did not get any fees back, and paypal will charge him fees, but its the best we can do, especially since there's no other communication going on. If he still wants the item I suppose he can contact us and we'll make arrangements.
The packaging survived quite well, which made me feel good.
Its always something. Its amazing how many weird things go on in a little 2 person business.
The 4th quarter of 2011 was the best quarter of the year, by far. In fact, it's better than any quarter we had in 2010 & 2009, so its the best quarter in the last 3 years. One of the quarters of 2008 may have been better because we were doing consignments back then, but 2008 vs 2011 is apples and oranges as far as our business goes. It was a very good 3 months for us
This is part of what's happening: we're getting a lot of repeat customers, and that is good. Repeat customers can drive a business. We're also getting a lot more sales of multiple items to a singer buyer than we used to, and that can add up quickly. And many of the repeat customers and multiple item buyers (sometimes they're the same people) are buying our photographs. We charge more for our photos than our postcards (because, they're generally worth more), and that has been driving our business, especially for the last 3 months.
January is starting off pretty well, so I hope it continues.