Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun July 7 2013 16:38:14

How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

By: Ina Steiner

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The dog days of summer usually refers to the hot weather July and August bring - and what a summer many of us are having this year! It's been in the 90s and humid for the past week here in Boston. But the phrase could also describe the state of ecommerce each summer as shoppers go on vacation and slow their spending.

I spoke to representatives of four repricing services, and they all agreed that seasonality plays a big part in pricing. They provided some tips for coping with the traditional summer slump, which will appear in tomorrow's Newsflash newsletter (now available).

How do you cope with the seasonal slumps in your ecommerce business? Is it all about discounting, or do you have strategies for attracting shoppers without "giving away the store"? Is it, as one repricing service suggested, a good time to make opportunistic inventory buys while prices are low?

Julia Wilkinson recently blogged about "Christmas in July" as a way to entice shoppers to marketplaces, and it works for some sellers.

Some people use downtime to do certain tasks that they're usually too busy to tackle - organizing their shipping stations, cleaning out files, preparing for a (hopefully) busy period after Labor Day. Have you started preparing your back-to-school, Halloween and Christmas marketing for email and advertising campaigns?

Or maybe you don't experience a summer slump - how diversified is your product line?

Let us know how you're handling the dog days of summer and if you have suggestions for other sellers. And stay tuned for Monday's article, "Merchant Pricing Tips for Coping with the Summer Slump."




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Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Sun Jul 7 17:37:17 2013

Being somewhat of an authority on ''dog days'' ……


Aside from the ''hunting and gathering'' of inventory to sell, & using Markdown Manager to run sales,  there is always something new to learn & try when slow time allows. Google has all kinds of stuff to play with to see if it will be of any use. .


Being of an age where we didn't grow up with computer related stuff, many folks my age have no formal education in technical things that are second nature to younger people or those with training.

Even just something like learning to use all the settings on a digital camera - instead of just point & shoot can be time well spent.


Then there is the summer entertainment of nature outside my office window - A flock of ibis stops by once a day to groom the yard, Anoles hang out on the  window and do push-ups for passing anoles, a large white heron drops by daily - sometimes dive-bombing the window looking for an anole feast, every so often Indy, the indigo racer slithers  by on his way to an appointment.  Then there are the seasonal parrots, blue jays, cardinals, etc….

So when things are slow, I can appreciate nature and give thanks I am not in a sterile windowless cubicle in the bowels of an office building.


Then, of course, there IS the power nap.

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 7 20:47:30 2013

On eBay, the "summer slump" started months (years?) ago.

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 7 22:22:43 2013

I spend my time looking for bad buyers for my bbl.

Like this one:
buyer IDjavielpajarito
Item ID: 170558982135

(Look at his fb left- a SHINING EXAMPLE of ebays ''Sophistocated fraud detection system'').

2-3 years of ''items not arriving''.
2-3 years of manipulating sellers for a refund and a FREE ITEM- or else.
2-3 years of unlimited fb privlidges, with over 50% negs given.
Only revised fb when sellers caved to his theft- AIDED AND ABETTED BY EBAY.

Hello??!- ebay fraud detection- NOT.

Ebay- You are AIDING AND ABETTING FRAUD and here is more PROOF.

Hugh or Matsura- what do you have to say @ this??

MH

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 7 23:14:25 2013

@ Massachusets Howler
Wow, javielpajarito is getting away with murder.  After his 1st 20 or so transactions he figured out that he doesn't have to pay for anything, so he doesn't.

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Jul 8 00:59:42 2013

Anticipating a long hot slow summer, we took a fresh look at eBay's apps page and found two apps that seem to be helping convert sales.

First, we signed up for the web store app which creates a separate web store using our live eBay listings. Shoppers who may click on one of our listings in that store are directed over to our listing in eBay.

Set up was incredibly easy, and questions submitted to their customer support staff via email were answered quickly.

Now that we are saving on listing fees with our eBay store subscription, we decided to invest $5.00 a month for a subscription to this app.

Hard to say if we are getting any traffic from this application since the accuracy of Omniture reports is seriously in question. However, our total number of watchers has increased. The question will be if watchers turn into buyers.... only time will tell.

The second app are trying was the Froo Cross Sell App. This is a free application that places a scrolling window at the bottom of every listing page. The scrolling window displays up to 50 other listings from our store.

The app is customizable with a few different skins as well as options to select sort order for items to be displayed.

I can say with some confidence that this app is generating sales. I have seen some items which were stagnant start to move since we added the scrolling display to our listings.

Our sales for June were up significantly over a year ago, but as yet it is hard to say if this is a boost from starting the two apps, or, if it is due to an increase in SKU's over last year.

Last year we had zero sales over the Fourth Of July weekend, and this year we have had 10, but again, it is hard to say if the apps are working, or if we simply have more sales due to the increase in our SKU variety.

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

by: trigon This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 8 01:33:30 2013

I'm going to go do some fishing and camping in the Rockies. Life is short and all business make you a dull boy (or girl).

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Jul 8 06:58:36 2013

Ric - Thanks for sharing the app info. I'm going to check them out - you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!


fyi - I did experience a nice little burst of sales over the 4th too, but no other apps in use.

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

by: Daisy909 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 8 07:20:14 2013

In my Etsy store I made a section for sale items. I'm stocking it with things that have been kicking around awhile. The fees are so low on Etsy that I can still make a profit on them. It's the last stop before giving these things to the Goodwill! So far I have sold a few of them.
The weather is perfect for flea markets, so I am buying stuff that will sell this fall and winter. Time to stock up!  

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Mon Jul 8 08:33:54 2013

If you are in the OOaK mode - now is the time to hit tag sales, auctions, Craigslist if you haven't already.

There is the "busman's" "buswoman" "busyo" holiday where you can pick an auction in let's say New Hampshire, get accommodations nearby, attend the auction & get to (partially) charge the effort off as a business expense.

I'll drag my wife up (actually she drags me) for a couple of days of decompression whilst stocking up on merchandise in an area which I've have not hit before.

Side benefit - usually that removes you from your computer & the rat race for a few days.

Side downside - finding new eateries along the way.

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 8 08:35:02 2013

We do not have to worry about ebay. Pulled 99% of items. Way too much work for the dismal STR.
Summertime is for fun, enjoying nature, taking my grandson fishing for the first time, yard sales, flea markets, farmers markets, ride in the country etc...
Also, probably filing bankruptcy due to no sales on ebay :-). Think I might have had some sales if there were seen by anyone. June was ridiculous. Prior years June was one of my best months. So I caved in - this noise left along with the thousands we purchased on that site. It's really bad when you have to go to Google to do a search on ebay. Something wrong with that or is it just me?
Will be going over plans to build up other sites.  

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Jul 8 11:14:23 2013


We buy and resell in the computer category and find that the summer months bring pricing opportunities in greater numbers primarily because the competition is less. Taking advantage of the summer slump often presents sourcing opportunities at prices which may not be possible when traffic is higher.

Auction listings get fewer bids, and sellers offering items with Best Offers may accept lower than normal offers just to clear goods out of their inventory.

I call this predatory buying.

Holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day can
be the perfect time to stock up for the holiday selling season.

We completed several purchases of items at prices as much as half of what the same items and lots would go for during spring, fall and winter probably because sellers were more anxious to complete sales during the slump.

We will use the down time of summer to set up listings for these items which we will hold off on posting until back to school season starts in late August.

This kind of predatory buying can reap greater profits when the items are resold after the summer is over, buyers return, and pricing is less challenging allowing us to increase our margins.

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Jul 8 11:32:31 2013

I have been spending these somewhat slower days, increasing my Amazon inventory, getting my backlog loaded and spending some time relaxing. One of the difficulties of having your own business, especially at your home is knowing when to call it quits for the day and that is something I am working on as well.

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Mon Jul 8 12:38:37 2013

I'm using the slow period to ramp up my efforts on other venues and to put together more listings. I'm also building myself some more automated tools to make listing-building faster and automate as much of the process as possible.

Sunny summer days are great for product photo shoots, sourcing like Ric recommends, and organizing inventory. I also make a point of reading business articles, magazines, and blogs that I've put aside for "later". In a way, it's nice to have some down time to get caught up on the latest marketing trends and the ecommerce technologies that might help sales.

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

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

Mon Jul 8 15:22:59 2013

@MH

Definition of ebay's "high tech detection system:"

Hamsters punching holes in IBM cards.

Let's watch javielpajarito and see if this little Spanish bird becomes an ebay jail bird.

Let's if and when ebay NARUs this criminal.

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon Jul 8 17:18:39 2013

MH

Anytime I have ever shipped to Spain I have regretted it - item not received, low DSRs and wanting partial refunds. Even my post office advises not to ship to Spain and also Italy.

Summer is a great time to get organized and ready for fall. Only this summer my main focus will be on building my off-line business. Also looking at other venues for my items. I won't be buying items to sell on ebay since the future for sellers is always questionable and ebay doesn't allow for planning with their constant schizo changes.  

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

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

Mon Jul 8 17:49:49 2013

The only secure USPS way to ship to Spain and Italy for smaller items fitting into the fixed rate envelope is International Express.

Express expedites through customs, bypasses these countries' respective Post Offices, and requires a signature.

Whether Spanish and Italian  customers are willing to pay is another issue.

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

by: LAbay This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 8 19:28:07 2013

I just started a Christmas in July sale yesterday. I can't prove this, but I think eBay gives you better search results if you have a sale.  I had some items listing for months without moving and now that the sale is on, buyers are telling me they are so glad they found the item. It says they have been looking and haven't been able to find the items until I had a sale. You don't have to discount a high percentage to get results.

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 9 10:09:15 2013

Sales have been atypically bad now for 2 months. I never really had a spring-summer slow down until last and now this year. I am taking the summer OFF from eBay for the first time in 18 years. No buying, no listing, just keeping the store open. It feels WONDERFUL to just let go :)

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 9 16:26:53 2013

javiero didn't get me, but he sure has gotten everybody else.
He seems to believe that he has a license to steal, which he does, aided and abetted by ebay.
bbl everyone.
MH
(I called ebay and showed them, as I often do and the ebay rep said that javerio was in good standing and ''WHY, would I not sell to him''- I said ''is this griff'' and they hung up on me''?!

Perminate Link for How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer   How Merchants Cope with the Dog Days of Summer

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 12 10:35:04 2013

Repeatedly moving prices up and down may work for major retail stores, including their online divisions, but for sellers like me who make OOAK handmade items, this is generally not considered a good business practice. Having a sale is one thing, but having a continual sale or constantly juggling prices comes across as unprofessional.

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