I'm a diehard thrifter and garage sale addict! I love the thrill of the hunt! And I love making CASH from trash so I also resell on eBay and Etsy. I share my successes to inspire you ... and my failures so you learn from my mistakes. Please join me on this wild and crazy ride of making cash from trash!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cash for Trash: June Sales

Another month and another dollar earned!  Sales have been slow but seem to be picking up.  Except for my two best sales – the Maui Jim sunglasses and the CeCe Pet Carrier – most of my June sales were pretty routine.


Here are a few of my more interesting sales from last month.  Except as noted, these items were purchased from the outlet so the “paid” price is an average.

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The North Face Vintage Logo Baseball Cap Hat Black Unisex One Size Nylon – Paid $0.84 – Revenue $19.99 – Net Margin 69%

The North Face is one of those brands that you can’t go wrong with picking up.  It’s pretty much a guaranteed sale.  Finding one of their jackets would be a major score.  This cap sold for $19.99 to a buyer in New York.  


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BabyBjorn Active Carrier Blue Lumbar Support Model 0260 UPDATED – Paid $0.90 – Revenue $31.98 – Net Margin 58%

This was my first time picking up one of these Baby Bjorn carriers.  I read they were good sellers, but this one is an older model.  As I was researching this one, I discovered that some of the older Baby Bjorn carriers were recalled.  The good thing is that this one had been updated and was not on the recall list.  Something to keep in mind when sourcing baby products from thrifts and garage sales.  This sold to a buyer in Wisconsin.


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Vintage Disney's Nana Plush Dog From the Movie Peter Pan by Sears – Paid $0.86 – Revenue $39.99 – Net Margin 72%

I have a love/hate relationship with plushies.  On the one hand, they don’t break and are  easy to ship. On the other hand, they take up space and tend to be slow sellers.  I just don’t have much luck selling plush, but this Disney Nana didn’t take too long to sell – about 2-1/2 months – not too bad. I was pretty happy to see it go, and the best part was that it went to a buyer in California so shipping was only $5.20.


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Speedo Mens Boys Swim Briefs Bikini Bathing Floral Print M 32 – Paid $0.99 – Revenue $34.98 – Net Margin 79%

I picked up three of these brand new Speedo briefs during one trip to the outlet in February.  I quickly listed all three and one sold a month later.  The last two finally sold in June.  I paid about $2.98 for all three, and my total revenue for the lot was $99.94.  The best part is that shipping was less than $2 each. Ka-ching!


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Black Buffalo Leather Motorcycle Round Barrel Bag Bedroll Sissy Bar Tote Luggage – Paid $4.20 @ SA – Revenue $46.49 – Net Margin 33%

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Genuine Hewlett-Packard Black Toner 96A HP LaserJet 2100 2200 Cartridge C4096 – Paid $0.50 @ Garage Sale – Revenue $35.34 – Net Margin 61%

These 2 items had been in my store for about a year.  I tried everything to move them out.  Finally, I pulled them “off the market” for about a month.  When I relisted them, I took new pictures and wrote a new title and description.  And, boom!  They both sold within a week!  I read somewhere that totally re-doing a listing helps with ranking; and now I’m a believer.

The bag was not the big seller I hoped it would be; and I finally sold it for $14.99 to a buyer in Sweden who paid over $30 for shipping.  My net margin on this was only 33% but I was glad to see it go.


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Fisher Price Peek-A-Blocks Musical Shape Sorter and Lot 27 Blocks – Paid $1.42 – Sold $43.99 – Net Margin 2%

I collected this lot of little blocks from multiple trips to the outlet.  My joy at making this sale was short lived when I discovered that I had messed up on the shipping cost.  This was supposed to be listed with calculated shipping; but I forgot to change the template.  This was an international sale to Israel and the buyer paid $14 for 1st class shipping. Unfortunately, the package weighed over 4 lbs. and had to send it by Priority Mail.  It cost $37 to ship … bah hum bug!  My net margin was only 2% and I made a whopping $0.85.


These are my “money in the garage” sales.  I did a little spring cleaning and these items were actually in the closet.  I love shopping my house for items to re-sell!

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Vintage Christmas Glass Ornaments Bulbs – Three boxes – Revenue $71.15 – Net Margin 60%

I bought these a few years ago, probably to make something crafty like a Christmas wreath; but I knew I was never going to get around to it.  I listed them at auction, and the top 2 sold for $10 plus shipping.  The 3rd one sold for $30.55 plus shipping.  I may have gotten a little more had I waited a few months, but I was ready to see them go.

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Vintage 80 Applique Quilt Blocks 9-Inch Unfinished Birds Leaves Turkey Red – FREE – Sold $80 – Net Margin 81%

I bought these quilt blocks YEARS ago on eBay.  I was gung-ho on learning how to applique and was determined to make these into a quilt.  Yea, right!  Put them away and never touched them, so now they found a new home with a buyer from Michigan.


Here is a breakdown of my June sales:

# of Sales: 77

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): $114.60 (6% of revenue)

Average Price of COGS: $1.49 (does not include personal items sold)

Total Revenue: $2008.77 (includes revenue from shipping)

Net Margin: 56%

Avg. Sales Price: $26.09

Highest Sold Item: $110.00

Lowest Sold Item: $7.99

Number and Percent of Items Sold:

  • Jeans: 14 – 18%
  • Plush and Toys: 13 – 17%
  • Shirts: 7 – 9%
  • Everything Else: 43 – 56%

Five UPI Case – Closed and credited

Now that’s cash for trash!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Good News to Share …

Fullscreen capture 6242014 113238 PM.bmp

I finally reached the 5000 feedback score and now have a GREEN star!  It’s just like getting those little foil gold stars on my homework when I was a child.  I loved getting those. 

And, when I reach the 10,000 feedback score, I’ll get a SHOOTING star … wow!  Of course, it’ll probably take me another 15 years to reach; but if every buyer left feedback, it may take only 12 years LOL.  Then, again, who knows what the future holds for me and eBay …


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CeCe Kent Ralph Taos Dog Carrier Black Leather – Paid $1 – Sold $110

It sold!  Yes, the designer leather pet carrier I bought at the GWO sold within a day of listing it.  I listed it at $200 with a Best Offer and by the next morning had an offer for $110, which I quickly accepted.  Lorraine at We Are CLAMCO thought I could get the full $200 and I should have gone with that, first listing it without the BO.  But no regrets – the buyer got a great deal and I got a quick $110 in my pocket.  Not a bad return on my $1 investment!

Now that’s cash for trash

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thrifty Treasures Thursday

It’s hard to believe that I haven’t been to any garage-estate-rummage sales this year – not a single, solitary one.  But I recently made my way to the GWO, which I hadn't been to since April.

When I got there, I was surprised – and happy – to see the parking lot was relatively empty.  I was also happy to know their price was still 69-cents a pound for non-clothing items.  But when I walked in, I was disappointed to see that most of their bins were filled with clothes. I didn't expect to find much; but by the time I walked up to the cashier, I had a full cart of goodies.


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There is so much crap junk in the bins that it’s sometimes easy to overlook the good stuff.  I don’t know why I picked up these sunglasses because I didn’t notice anything outstanding about them.  But once I saw it, I recognized the brand name – Maui Jim. I listed these right away and they sold within 2 days to a buyer in Tennessee.  They have already received their glasses and left positive FB!
 

 
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I really appreciate all the information that others share – not just on blogs but also on FB posts – and how generous everyone is to share.  I would never have picked up this wooden cassette rack if I hadn’t read about it.  I don’t always remember where I read the information, but good thing the information sticks in my mind.  This one is marked Napa Valley; I don’t know if all cassette racks are good sellers or just this brand.  Here is a link to one that recently sold for $50 plus shipping.
 

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I spotted this GI Joe missile launcher the moment it came rolling out in a bin.  I thought I would have a fight on my hands, but everyone else was interested in shoes and purses.  Unfortunately, the jeep that goes with it was in another bin that rolled out later, and someone else beat me to it.  I’ll be listing this for $45 plus shipping.


CeCe Taos Carrier Black

This is an online picture of a CeCe Kent pet carrier that is just like one I picked up at the outlet.  When I first picked it up, I thought it was a purse.  Then I realized it was a pet carrier and thought I would keep it for Mimi, my little Chihuahua.  When I remembered how much she hates the carrier we already have, I put it back.  But it was a really nice quality suede bag and I thought it might be worth something.  Looked it up on my Smartphone and discovered these retail new for over $400!!  Holy cow, I almost tripped on my own 2 feet running back to grab it before it was gone.

Once I got home I researched it and found several online websites selling this very same bag for between $300-$500.  Are these prices real or ridiculously over-blown?  I only saw one used that sold on eBay for about $50 – blah!  My bag is very clean and looks to be unused but it’s obviously pre-owned.  I figure I paid about $1 for it, and I’m thinking I’ll list it for $200 with a Best Offer.


I found a few other things at the GWO:

  • 6 pairs of shoes
  • 3 jackets, including a vintage Levis Sherpa denim jacket
  • 2 vintage Disney/Pixar sheets
  • Some vintage dinnerware and few more odds-and-ends

I spent $82 and hope to turn that into $1100+ in revenue!  I love the outlets!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cash for Trash: May Sales

As much as I lamented that sales were slow, I was doing the happy dance when there was a sudden surge in sales the end of May.  This was especially good since I had put my store on vacation for a couple of weeks and didn’t list one single item in May until the last week. I know these surges come and go; I just wish they lasted longer!


Here are a few more sales I made in May.  Except for the last item, all of these were purchased from the GWO so the “paid” price is an average.

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Hasbro NERF Tornado Strike Big Super Soaker Squirt Gun with Detachable Stock – Paid $0.71 – Sold $30.99 – Net Margin 59%

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Wham-O Aqua Force Crossbow Water Balloon Blaster – Paid $0.99 – Sold $25.26 – Net Margin 33%

These bigger water guns sell really well during the warmer months.  These have been listed since February,  and they sold within days of one another.  I was hoping the Wham-O blaster was worth more, but it retails new for $25.  So I listed it for $10.99 BIN, and someone paid $15 to have it shipped to NY.  Go figure!

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Large Grumpy Plush 28" Snow White Seven Dwarf Retired Jumbo – Paid $1.42 – Sold $35.99 – Net Margin 50%

I debated about getting this big guy along with his sidekick Dopey because of their large size and the hassle of shipping; but I just couldn’t leave them behind.  I stuck him in a 14” square box and shipped him to a buyer in Wisconsin for about $12.  My net profit – after costs and fees – was about $18, or 50% of the sales price. Not too bad; just glad to see him go!
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Mervyns California Mission San Buenaventura Ornament Midwest of Canon Falls 1998 – Paid $0.60 – Sold $24.95 – Net Margin 74%

I’ve mentioned these California Missions for Mervyn’s in previous posts (here and here).  They are porcelain replicas made by Midwest of Canon Falls and were sold in Mervyn’s stores from 1997-1998.  Both the village buildings and the ornaments – like the one above – are hard to find and very collectible as are the accessories.  If you ever run across one, be sure to grab it quickly and run!

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Porceval Figurine Girl in Blue Ribbon Dress and Veil Hand Painted Spain – Paid $0.71 – Sold $26.89 – Net Margin 63%

When I first saw this pretty figurine tossed in a bin, I didn’t pay her any attention.  She was in the midst of a bunch of cheap dollar-store figurines so I just walked on by.  I came upon her again when I made my second round and this time I picked her up.  Her bottom was marked “Porceval, Made in Spain”.  Okay, maybe she wasn’t some cheap trinket.  Thanks to my smartphone I realized she could be worth a few dollars so into the cart she went.  She sat in my store for about 3 months before she sold to a buyer here in California.

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Atari 2600 and Frogger Plug and Play TV Video Game Arcade Style Joystick – Paid $0.99 – Sold $30.81 – Net Margin 67%

I still remember playing the first video arcade games back in the 1970s.  The first one I ever played was Pong by Atari.  It was such a simple two-dimensional game, but I was terrible at it!  So when I saw these two joysticks, I threw them in my cart.  These are actually plug-and-play arcade TV joysticks.  They are not very old, but you can play some of the original arcade games from the 70s – including Pong!  We plugged them into our OLD TV to make sure they work and I had a fun time remembering old times.  And yes, I’m still terrible at playing Pong!  These also sold to a buyer in California.

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Noritake Versatone Bleufleur B319 Seven (7) Dinner and Dessert Plates – Paid $5.38 – Sold $98.52 – Net Margin 72%

I sold seven more pieces of this beautiful Noritake design.  I purchased these in February and sold the first 3 bowls within a few days of listing them.  So far, total sales of these pieces comes to just over $160. I still have two more dinner plates that should bring in another $35.  These were two listings and they went to the same buyer in Florida.

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Naked Nude Barbies Barbie Mixed Lot of 9 Blonde Brunette African Clean – Paid $1.38 – Sold $43.39 International Sale – Net Margin 22%

This little lot of naked Barbies was not a big seller.  This was my first try at selling this item and it will also be my last!  I picked them up because I’d seen the videos by GillDaddy and they always grab them to sell in lots.  However, this just didn’t work for me.  I picked these up over the course of several trips to the GWO and half the ones I did get were damaged.  I finally got around to listing them and getting them out the door.  What I DID find interesting was that I received quite a few inquiries, all from international buyers. Anyway, this lot went to a buyer in the United Kingdom, who paid over $33.00 for shipping.  What DO people do with these?


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Food Saver Mini Plus Vacuum Sealer Brand New in the Box – Paid $7.98 – Sold $60 – Net Margin 63%

Honestly, when I paid the $7.98 at the SA for this FoodSaver, I intended to keep it.  Otherwise, I don’t think I would have bought it to resell.  The box was sealed so I had no idea its condition.  But once at home, I saw that it was brand new in its original packaging.  Looked it up and realized I could sell it for about $60.  Oh, well, I didn’t really need it!  This sold the day after Memorial Day – within 2 days of listing it – to a buyer in California.

I know it takes money to make money; and one of the things I struggle with is not limiting what I pay for items.  I like to stay under $5 – WAY under – for what I pay per product.  Yet, I realize that I’m leaving behind many great items that could bring in more money. I see that other sellers pay much more for items that they know will bring in the $$.

Selling the FoodSaver made me realize that I need to expand my horizons and not limit myself and the items I sell.  Yes, it may take a little more upfront money – and, yes, you have more at risk – but you also have more to gain!


Here is a breakdown of my May Sales:

# of Sales: 70

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): $103.64 (6% of revenue)

Average Price of COGS: $1.65 (does not include personal items sold)

Total Revenue: $1895.38 (includes revenue from shipping)

Avg. Sales Price: $27.08

Net Margin: 57%

Highest Sold Item: $109.71

Lowest Sold Item: $4.24

Number and Percent of Items Sold:

  • Jeans: 23 – 33%
  • Plush and Toys: 14 – 20%
  • Sewing Machines: 4 – 6%
  • Everything Else: 29 – 41%

One UPI Case – Closed and credited

Now that’s cash for trash!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

What’s Up with eBay and Google—and Slow Sales

First it was the new Cassini search engine, then eBay sprang the new Defect Rate (eDR) on us; and if that wasn’t enough, there was the recent security breach.  NOW I learn that Google has dropped eBay from it’s high-ranking searches. What’s up?!

A few days ago, I saw this article from eCommerce Bytes. Then yesterday, I read this post by The Thrift Store Reseller Blog.  The issue about eBay’s decreased search engine rankings really caught my attention.

I learned that on May 20 Google  introduced a new version of its Panda algorithm, which Google uses to rank websites in its search results.  It is designed to prevent sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results. So, what happened to eBay?

Not too long ago, if you searched for any product that could be bought or sold, an eBay link was likely on the first page of results (Business Insider 05/22/14). Do a Google search today and you will not see one eBay link on the first page.  eBay has been sent to the “back of the line”.

One source says eBay lost 80% of its “best search listings” (organic rankings); other sources say 50%. No one really knows why, but there is much speculation.  “People started noticing this week that eBay was no longer showing up in search results on thousands of different queries, the thinking was that Panda was the cause.” (re/code 05/23/14)

This source, however, says eBay was penalized by Google—part of a so-called “manual action” that Google took against eBay—but the timing of Panda’s rollout made it look like eBay’s trouble was Panda-related.(Search Engine Land 05/23/14)

Most of the information I found was too techy and geeky for me.  But, what I do know is that my sales have been ridiculously slow.  eBay needs to get their act together and needs to do it quick.  Meinard @ The Thrift Store Reseller Blog has a great attitude about all this and has a lot of hope that eBay will recover.  I agree with him. eBay has to –- I need them to – because my sales depend on it!

In the meantime, I’ll not be doing any auction listings and will be listing everything in my store.  During this slow time, I will continue to list items in my Bonanza and Etsy stores, and I will do my best to weather the storm.

Sources:

Search Engine Land (05/21/14)

Business Insider (05/22/14)

re/code (05/23/14)

Search Engine Land (05/23/14)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

eBay’s Cassini Search Engine: What I Learned

cassiniSometime during the last quarter of 2013, my sales—along with those of others—took a downward spiral.  I couldn’t understand why, but then I read a FB comment that explained it in one word:  Cassini. eBay had quietly rolled out its new search engine in June.

Cassini who?!  What?! I’d read the announcements and postings about the new search engine and listened to some of it.  I improved my photos, filled in the Item Specifics, completed the Condition Description box, and even refreshed my stale store listings.  But I was oblivious to the impact of other important factors and how it all would affect my sales.  I decided it was time to really look into this new Cassini.  Here is what I learned and had not previously understood.


Cassini is about the buyer, not the seller.  It is designed to provide consumers with a more targeted shopping experience and is based on personalization.  In essence, it is the buyers who influence the order of search results.

Cassini bases its search results on the 4 core values: trust, value, relevance and convenience. This means the listing title is no longer the master because other aspects of the listing and selling process also play a key role in rankings. 

Cassini uses algorithms that match a buyer's search term with the following:

  • your product details
  • the price
  • the age of your listing
  • the quality of your item
  • shipping cost
  • shipping time
  • your feedback rating
  • the number of viable items you have listed
  • your sell through ratio
  • your return policy
  • your compliance with eBay's regulations
  • and many more mundane points.

Whatever product has the highest score based upon these factors goes on top and is seen and often purchased first.

What?!  I didn’t realize that my ranking in search results was also based upon my return policy, my sell-through ratio, etc.  Cassini has definitely changed the way our listings show up in searches. It is now more important than ever to show that your items are in demand, that you can make the sale, and that you can provide great customer service which results in happy buyers that come back. 


What significant changes has Cassini made that affect listings the most?  What does Cassini like – and more importantly, does  not like? And what can I do to ensure my listings get top ranking?

1) Fewer search results. Rather than returning all potential matches, Cassini displays only a subset of listings in search results that are unique to each buyer.  This results in fewer—but more relevant—search results for the buyer.

2)  Free listings. eBay would be hard-pressed to continue charging sellers listing fees when only a few hundred—albeit relevant—listings show up in results.  I believe this is their way of making up for  the significant cut back in listings in search results

3) Text mining. Cassini goes beyond pure keyword matching in a title.  Cassini also mines the text in item descriptions to capture additional information that will result in more relevant searches.

4) Feedback. Cassini mines the text of feedback comments looking for patterns—both positive and negative—to get a more accurate picture of the level of customer service each seller is providing.  Why?  Because some buyers who are unhappy with a transaction may be loathe to leave negative feedback.  They will instead leave a positive feedback but will hint or complain in the feedback comments.

5) Sell-through rates.  Cassini loves activity.  It looks at how fast you turn things over.  It makes it counterproductive to post many more items than you expect to be able to sell.  So while in the past it may not have mattered if you had 1000+ active listings with only a small percentage of them selling regularly, these days those stale listings can adversely affect your ranking in search results. 

6) Seller performance and Defect Rate (eDR).    This is about your business practices as they relate to the four core values. Cassini tends to reward sellers with good-faith business practices.  It looks at your seller ratings, overall feedback, dispute resolution history, customer service history, past buyer protection cases, shipping and return policies, plus buyer communication history as well as your seller compliance rating.

Your Seller Performance is measured by your Defect Rate. A poor Defect Rate not only affects your seller status and discounts, but it also affects your ranking in search results. The better your eDR, the more you will be “search advantaged”.

Suggested recommendations:

1) Listing Title – Use relevant and popular keyword combinations.  Write titles for a buyer, not a search engine.  It’s no longer advisable to cram the title with keywords and fill in all the spaces. Irrelevant words like L@@K confuse Cassini and it will bypass your listing. It’s more important that the title include words that are relevant to the buyer and in the order a buyer would.  This is very important because a poorly written or irrelevant title can result in a lower impressions-to-transactions ratio, pushing you downward in rankings. 

2) Catalog and Item Specifics – Whenever available use the eBay catalog and fill out the item specifics as completely as you can.  Add your own item specifics whenever possible to better inform buyers and more completely describe your products.  This data is no longer there just to help shoppers make buying decisions.  It plays a significant role in search rankings.

3) Complete Item Descriptions – Add clear and precise information, including details about the condition as well as any facts the seller should know.  The idea is to keep the buyer engaged as long as possible and to eventually get them to buy an item. Cassini measures each view to see how well and how long it can keep a buyer’s attention and how often that view becomes a sale.

4) Item Performance over Time – Cassini compares how many times your listings have been seen to the number of sales they generate.  So it really pays to have fewer listings do more. Your ranking will decrease the more your listings are viewed without a buy-through. It may be better to list stock gradually as you actually expect to sell it and review your prices so that your are price-competitive.

Cassini does not like stale listings. New, reasonably priced listings from a reputable seller with high ratings will automatically be placed near the top of the Best Match category for the first day or two.  I like to review and refresh my fixed-price listings every 30-90 days.  Sometimes I will relist an old store listing as an auction.  Other suggestions include re-doing the entire listing with  new description and new photos. 

5) Photos – Photos need to not only be big and clear, they also have to be appealing.  With Cassini, every click and purchase counts, so you can’t afford to be passed over or ignored by buyers because of poor pictures.

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Please do not include your doggy or your ugly feet in the picture, no matter how cute you think they are.  (Surprisingly, the Dumbo plush elephant actually sold.)

6) Feedback and Open Resolution Cases – Buyers don’t like sellers with negative feedback (even when it’s a “positive”)—and neither does Cassini.  Poor feedback and open resolution cases significantly lower your listings in searches.    Cassini will be quick to lower your placement in searches as soon as a case is opened.  So you have to be just as quick to find a solution that results in a happy buyer (and positive FB) and close that case fast.  Your listings will not recover until you resolve the issue.

7) Free Shipping – We all know there is no such thing as “free shipping”, but buyers perceive Free Shipping as a wonderful thing. Cassini does too and will move your listings into a higher level in Best Match.  A buyer is also more likely to leave positive FB when they receive free shipping.

8) Hassle-Free Returns – I am not suggesting that you opt-in to eBay’s return process, but sellers with a great return policy that includes a longer return period will rank higher in Best Match.  Remember, you don’t have to accept returns; but if you do, you are required to accept returns for ANY reason (per eBay policy). 

10) HTML – Remove any extraneous HTML code from your description area.  Listing templates, banners, widgets, maps, and info copied from the internet that carries code with it can muck up this area.  Cassini can’t read it and listings with too much HTML will be pushed to the bottom.

I didn’t realize that cutting-and-pasting info in my descriptions would affect my ranking in searches.  The best way to strip the code from copied info is to drop it into MS Word and then save it as a plain text file (.txt extension).  Open this .txt file, fix the formatting and then cut-and-paste this info into your item description.

11) RSS Feeds – Refreshing your RSS feeds forces Cassini to re-index your first 100 listings and will temporarily move them higher in Best Match.  It is recommended that you do this once a week if you want to get a good temporary boost.

Bottom line: Sell good-quality items that buyers want at a price they want to pay; and keep them happy so they come back.  You do this and eBay will reward you by placing your listings at the top level of Best Match.


I am sorry for the lengthy post, but I think it’s important to understand how Cassini affects our sales.  Basically eBay is now evaluating every single thing that you do as a seller and making it part of the Cassini Search ranking process. So, it's more important than ever to do those things that will likely result in better search placement over time. 

While I have added my own two-cents, please note that I am not the original author of much of the information.  It was culled from the sources listed below; and I want to credit and give them a big thanks.

And if there is anything here that you think may be  inaccurate or you have additional suggestions, please post a comment.  Inquiring minds want to know!


Sources:

eCommerce Bytes Blog (10/14/12)

eCommerce Bytes Blog (10/15/12)

AppEagle (11/1/12)

eCommerce Bytes Blog (01/14/13)

TameBay (03/28/13)

Terapeak Social (06/11/13)

eCommerce Bytes Blog (06/21/13)

Wired (06/25/13)

eCommerce Bytes Blog (06/25/13)

Ecommerce & Auction Site News (07/04/13)

eCommerce Bytes Blog (09/19/13)

Examiner.com (11/25/13)

About.com (eBay)

eCommerce Bytes Blog (01/05/14)

eBay Selling Coach (04/14/14)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Selling on eBay: Vacation Settings and Sales

IMG_0129It had been several years since I’d last seen my daughter and grandkids, who now live in Texas.  I was blessed to be with her this past weekend when she graduated with an AA degree.  It took her 15 years, but with hard work and determination, she did it!

She has already been accepted to the University of Houston, where she will continue her education and follow her dream of being a teacher.  She will do this while still caring for her family.  It is with their love and support that she will be able to reach her goal.  I am so proud of her and them!


Before going on vacation, I put my store on vacation mode.  However, this time I made sure to hide my listings and block any purchases.  With the new Defect Rating, I just did not want to worry about or deal with eBay while spending time with my daughter. 

I read here that sales can be slow after turning off the vacation setting so I was expecting (and looking forward) to a little down time when I returned from my vacation.  I turned my vacation setting off Thursday evening, so I was surprised – and happy – to see four new sales within 24 hours, totaling $153!  By this morning, I had another two sales and added $118+ to the total.  Ka-ching!

I was going to refresh the RSS feed on my eBay store to give it a boost in search placement, but I haven’t even gotten to that yet.  Learn more about this little trick here.

cassini

One eBay-related thing I did do during my vacation was to read  more about eBay’s new search engine, known as Cassini.  I’d already been implementing some of the recommendations to optimize my listings.  However, the one major recommendation I had avoided was to offer 30-day returns; and Thursday evening, I finally changed all my listings from 14-day returns to 30-day.  Did this really have anything to do with my recent sales?  I don’t know, but it certainly did not seem to hurt.


Here are my best sellers so far this month.  Click on the picture to see the complete listing:

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Singer 503A Sewing Machine Slant-O-Matic Rocketeer Foot Pedal Case Attachments – Sold $75 Plus Shipping – Net Margin 54%

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Vintage 1953 Heavy Duty Singer 15-91 Sewing Machine w/ Manual & Bentwood Case – Sold $100 – Local Pickup – Net Margin 85%

Sold two more sewing machines from my personal collection.  The Singer 503A was the first sale I made after I turned off my vacation settings.  I dropped the price on this one because it was damaged and would cost about $60 to repair. As it turns out, the buyer is a “former Singer person” and knows how to fix it.

The second 1953 Singer machine has a wooden dome case and I dreaded having to pack and ship it.  Luckily, the buyer lived about 1/2 hour away and picked it up.  She was able to test the machine and was thrilled with her purchase. 

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Wilcox Willcox & Gibbs Sewing Machine Parts Feet Guides – Sold $82.99 – Net Margin 73%

These sewing machine parts are another sewing-related listing from my collection.  These were inside an old sewing machine cabinet that I no longer have.  I don’t know why I kept them, but decided to finally get rid of sell them.  I started the listing at $5.00 plus $6.99 shipping and would have been happy with that, just to see them gone.  So I was absolutely thrilled these sold for over $80 to a buyer in Canada.

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Scrabble Deluxe Edition with Turntable Rotating Board Complete 1999 – Paid $0.86 – Sold $45 – Net Margin 64%

Purchased this at the GW outlet for about 86 cents.  It sold within a week.  Secured the game pieces, wrapped the box using brown paper bags, and off it went to a buyer in California.

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Disney Characters Mickey Mouse Dumbo Pinocchio Birthday Cloth Tablecloth Vintage – Paid $1.29 – Sold $81.50 – Net Margin 74%

I found this great Disney tablecloth at the GW outlet and paid about $1.29 for it.  I knew it would be a good seller, but never expected it to sell for as much as it did.  It had definitely been used, but the colors in the characters were in great condition so I started the auction at $9.99.  This went to a buyer in Pennsylvania.

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Music Reuge Antique Vintage Swiss Made Plush Musical Cow Bull Doll Toy AS-IS – Paid $0.71 – Sold $45

I hope not to offend anyone, but this is really one of the ugliest looking cows I have ever seen.  The only reason I bought it was because I knew it was vintage and it only cost about 71-cents from the GW outlet. 

I searched not just eBay but also the Internet for any information on this item and found only one other Reuge plush on eBay here listed for $99.  I discovered that the Reuge company makes musical boxes and clocks, some of their items selling well into the thousand dollars.  This particular toy plush has a musical mechanism inside and it seems that the tail is used to wind it.  Unfortunately it is broken so I am very happy for the sale.  This is also one of my sales from yesterday and I am still waiting for payment.  I sure do hope the buyer comes through.

Now that’s cash for trash!


One more thing I’d like to share with you before ending this post.  Remember this post about the recalled Easy Bake oven?

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I did a bit of thrifting with my daughter while in Texas, and she took me to a good size community thrift store.  One of the first things I spotted was this Easy Bake oven; paid $2 for it.  DD gave me a funny look when I grabbed it, but was thrilled when I told her about the $35 Hasbro gift card.  With four kids, she can definitely use it!  They are still out there, so keep your eyes open.