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Thu June 26 2014 17:29:39

Five Ways to Get Through the Summer Sales Slump

By: Julia Wilkinson

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It's summer, only a few days in, and already many sellers are making noises about sales slowing down, as they usually do this time of year. People are on vacation, or just not focused on buying things, or right now maybe they're glued to the World Cup and the only things they're buying are chips and beer.

But this time of year doesn't have to mean a big sales slump for you. It can be an opportunity to get out inventory you hadn't thought about, and to get other things done. Also, there are some things not to do. Here are five suggestions:

1. List Well-Known Brands at Lower Prices than Your Usual, and/or Run Sales. These can attract more attention to all your items and be something like a "loss leader," though hopefully in this case they'll just be "leaders" and not a "loss."

For example, I know Coach is a very hot keyword on eBay, and I've been sitting on (not literally, though they are a bit squished) a pair of cute Coach sneakers that show some scuffing on their white sides. Well, I just listed them, scuffing or not. I put 'em at a low starting price for a Coach item, pointed out their wear, and hopefully they'll still draw more views to my other shoes and clothing.

2. List Sports and Recreation Items. This may be a "duh," but this is something people are doing more of now, and you probably have things in your basement, garage, under your porch, or even in a closet you don't use anymore. For example, I have at least a couple pairs of shin guards and a pair of soccer cleats I can list, which my son has outgrown. Everyone else's sons and daughters are outgrowing their sports gear too. Skip McGrath, in his latest newsletter, also discusses "Coping with the Summer Slowdown," as he puts it...one of the things he says is selling well for him is kids' sunglasses. In fact, I would recommend any kids' clothing, even early back-to school stuff like jeans. (And oh yeah, all those gorgeous shirts that were Christmas gifts which my son refused to wear. This also reminds me, home-schooling stuff and summer packet-type educational materials can sell well now).

3. Use Any Extra Time to Sort through  Inventory You Have on Hand. If you're like me, there may be several bags of stuff that you haven't gone through in months. (Some aren't even in my "eBay room"...shhhh! ;) I have a whole bag of doll clothes I haven't thought about since March.

Speaking of which...

4. Ship as Much Stuff Out to Amazon FBA as You Can. Free up space in the house by not only getting the stuff out of there but also giving it more of a fighting chance to sell, as it will be made available to all of Amazon's many "Prime" customers. (This, of course, will only work for stuff in categories for which you have any needed approval. Need approval? Use this time to request it).

But for heaven's sake...

5. Don't Panic! Just because you haven't had a sale in a week, doesn't mean you should accept that lowball offer for your new designer item. My sales have slowed down a bit, but I got an offer for a Chanel jacket the other day that was one of those "take a deep breath before you respond" things.

I've had some designer items sit for months and months, and in some cases over a year, and then up and sell at full price. But, you can also do research to make sure your price is indeed realistic. If it is, stand firm.

How do you ride out the summer slump? Or is summer actually a time when your type of inventory sells well? Post a comment here!



Comments (10) | Permalink

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Jun 27 06:48:31 2014

Before I comment on your post itself, I will first say that if someone in a senior level management would step forward and actually comment publicly about the security breach, and assure buyers that they are now secure buying on eBay, this summer's slump would not be as huge as it is.  I can't quite wrap my head around why they haven't.  Even the security experts in the press don't understand it.  I've always gotten through summer ok, but this summer is different, and I blame it on the breach and the lack of eBay's response.

I like all of your suggestions, but  if I've listed something great that  would otherwise be in demand, I'll wait it out rather than take a low ball offer.  I don't like any offers on items that don't have a "best offer" in the listing, especially low ball offers.  I think that when low ball offers are accepted by sellers, then buyers start expecting every seller to accept a their low ball offer. Some will act down right childish when a seller will not accept theirs, even though there is not a best offer in the listing in the first place.

I think summer is a great time to clean house, and cross check to see what items in one's inventory have actually be purged by eBay. Seems like fairly often an item simply disappears from one's eBay store.  I recently identified an expensive pair of men's pants that had. I re-photographed, relisted and the item sold within a few weeks.

I'm also using this time to expand the inventory on our company website.  Any time that I spend on the website is liberating, and I don't feel like eBay chattel.

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This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww

Fri Jun 27 11:44:49 2014

Good point, Rex! Thanks for your input. :) Me no like lowball offers either. :/

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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 27 14:52:58 2014

Ah Yes the summer slow down..Its no problem for us as we just shut the store for 75 days and head to the beach..

This lets Ebay mess up other things so we get a learning curve in September.

But for now its sun and fun in the sand...

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Fri Jun 27 15:26:00 2014

Inventory check, always something new to add.

I don't do the lowball offers either. I have a polite cut & paste response saved.  

Monitor accounts for strange charges. Work on an ongoing list of passwords for the next go-round when whoever I do business with gets hacked or finds a flaw.

Learn more about using things like Pinterest for promotion of sale items without alienating followers. And how to best organize my fave recipes on it - Pinterest is now my go-to cookbook.


When waay slow:

Watch a ''foreign'' series on Netflix (some great stuff out there), soon you get used to reading the subtitles - if you then watch regular TV, you feel something is missing.
PS - I highly recommend subtitles over dubbing. So much better to hear a movie in the original language, even if you don't speak it.


Track Katherine the Great White Shark on the OSEARCH shark tracker app. That girl gets around! Currently circling around in the Gulf off FL. I do NOT want to meet up with her at the beach!


Same ole, same ole.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sat Jun 28 23:24:59 2014

Julia-

One good topic for a column would be to query ebay and report the spin they give for why they make listings simply disappear and when their own defective coding creates defects for sellers.

My guess is that they'll either deny they do this -- which is a lie -- or they'll defend this despicable practice by saying the listings were stale and it was their "right" to purge them.

I'm convinced ebay believes they have the right to do ANYTHING they want at ANYTIME to ANYONE and have exempted themselves from providing explanations.

It seems to me that ebay should provide warnings to sellers BEFORE they purge items. Listings represent a lot of time and energy, and time is money.

I'm not referring to listings that ebay removes for MCC and other violations; I'm talking about lisitngs that simply vanish without the seller's knowledge.

And while you're at it, would you please ask them how they can legally give "defects" when in many cases it's ebay's own defective coding that creates the problem? (EG, double listings of single items, mysterious relistings of already sold items, and unstable fields that change prices, listing durations, shipping restrictions, quantities, and so on without the seller's knowledge.)

In any honest venue, practices like these would be clear and unequivocal examples of blatant consumer fraud.

But it's everyday management behavior on ebay.

Please hold ebay accountable for what they're doing.

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jun 29 23:45:19 2014

Thanks Julia for pointing out some things that I have noticed--the SLUMP--and also for suggestions on other things to list.  

And for NOT taking just any old "Offer"  on things I KNOW are worth what I have them priced at.  

Those Coach shoes--well--how WOULD they look with a vintage Coach bag---or three!  Sitting on those right now!!!!  and NOT selling cheap! Willing to hold 'em!

(A flip side to this---I asked a buyer IF they would do a BIN on something I wanted--almost all of their similar items HAD BIN's of a reasonable price on them--and the buyer came back with a price for a BIN of FOUR TIMES the "start" price--for an item that doesn't EVER sell for that much!  So you just never know=-=this was way past my limit so I purchased the item for a few $$$ more from another seller.  Again--this was NOT a high dollar item and the price I paid was consistent for the items worth and past sales.  I have in fact sold the SAME item in a different size recently so I KNOW what it was worth!

Contrary to Gordon Gecko--Greed is NOT always good

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by: Etsy Seller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 30 00:11:20 2014

Etsy has been slow, too. Many sellers are complaining about low view numbers - my shops are getting viewed by other sellers, not outside buyers, and its discouraging.
I just keep telling myself; this too shall pass!
and keep plugging away at improving my photos and the rest.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jun 30 06:41:25 2014

Comet says "(A flip side to this---I asked a buyer IF they would do a BIN on something I wanted--almost all of their similar items HAD BIN's of a reasonable price on them--and the buyer came back with a price for a BIN of FOUR TIMES the "start" price--for an item that doesn't EVER sell for that much!"

Comet, he/she may have been simply annoyed that you were making an offer on an item that did not have a BIN on it and purposely jacked the price up on it to drive you away.  I've heard of this tactic discussed on the discussion boards.

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Jun 30 09:13:16 2014

One of the things I always question when sales seem to be slow is the advice to lower the price or run a sale. Especially if you have been selling for a long time and you traditionally have a summer slump or for me a Christmas slump. I sell sewing patterns, and most people are taking a break from sewing gifts during those weeks up to Christmas.

Instead I would suggest some of those other items to do including promoting your store or business and I would be real sure that what I sent to FBA was something that would sell quickly. I'm always amazed at the low price that FBA items have compared to mine. Years ago I figured out that I made just as much (if not a little more) by selling something for 2-3X (and more!) what those 'penny' sellers do. In my niche many sellers with no experience are coming in and putting LOWER than LOW prices on items that I routinely get a lot more for because they have no clue of the value. For me this means I don't have to sell as much as them to make the same kind of money and I have a whole lot less packaging to do. The FBA sellers, are selling at much cheaper rates, and are paying extra fees for shipping to the warehouse and then storage at the warehouse for who knows how long and just to make their measly couple of dollars. I never can see the sense of it.

When my sales slump I just look at it as a chance to get caught up listing and doing all the things that get put on the wayside during busier times.

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This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst
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Tue Jul 1 11:57:04 2014

eBay sales are as bad as the attacks on the sellers. I'm not sure if any sellers follow a sales track to compare sales, but if you do, you will notice that eBay ALWAYS keeps the same amount of money on sales, TOPS, it can be less but never more. Usually 2 days ok, 3 days bad, before the payment date, sales go very down, which I imagine, is redirected traffic to big merchants so they can have enough to pay for those huge fees, somehow, eBay thinks that this is ok, to squeeze the small seller and all will be ok.

I'm happy that sellers have now more options and that in sites like this, sellers can learn many ways to promote and sell, not just eBay and Amazon. This eBay CEO has accomplished nothing after Meg Whitman. Perhaps they should bring her back.  



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