There are two types of businesses that sell on eBay: ones that sell new products with a virtually unlimited inventory and those that sell a large number of items, both new and used, with a finite number available. If you are the latter, this post is for you.
Whether you are buying returns from major retailers, selling auto parts from a junk yard, buying liquidation stock, or buying items from bankruptcy sales you have a large number of items that have small quantities, sometimes even individual units, Your profit is derived from your sale price, minus eBay commissions, minus your cost of goods, minus shipping and finally minus your cost to list the product. You probably already at the lowest commissions you can be at, already paying heavily discount shipping rates and doing a great job buying your products for as low as possible. We are here to talk about what you can reduce: the labor involved in listing those items.
Labor to List
- eBay/PayPal Commission
- Item Cost
- Labor to List
Whether an item is $20 or $2,000 it takes the same amount of time to list. You need to take pictures, write a title, write a description, set the price, select a bunch of options like return period, payment options, etc., and then list it on eBay. Your listing cost is simple: labor cost divided by number of items listed. If you paid your team of 5 people $12.50/hour it would cost you $500 in labor for an 8-hour day. If that team listed 100 items that day, your listing cost is $5/item. On a $20 item, you pay about $2.50 in eBay/PayPal commissions, $7.00 in shipping, and $5.00 in labor to list it so you made about $5.50 or just over 25% profit.
You've likely setup something resembling an assembly line. Carts of products at the beginning, shelves at the other side with computers, cameras, and people in between. It takes up a lot of space and if one kink in the chain breaks the entire system slows down and your $5/item turns into $7/item that day. There is a better solution.
A marvelous product was introduced to the market a couple years ago called Airtable. Think of it like a cross between Excel and Access except it is simple to use, in the cloud, and mobile-ready. What if your team could take pictures, dictate the title and description instead of typing them, and scan the UPC right from their mobile device? Each person could easily list each item in 5 minutes or less. No assembly line, nothing but a null space with a cart of products, a white backdrop, a table, and a chair.
With the free Airtable app running on any Apple or Android-based mobile device that is possible. Each member of your team would be listing at least 12 ¡items an hour or 96 items a day. The same team of five members would be listing 480 items per day instead of 100 bringing the listing cost down to just over $1/item. That same $20 item is now making $9.50 in profit, nearly 50% profit margin or double what you were making before.
Right now, you are probably saying “but the item is just in Airtable, it isn't on eBay yet” You would be right. That is where Vesta 9 and our proprietary Hydra software comes in. Hydra will automatically look at Airtable for completed items, turn them the into inventory items in Channel Advisor and list them to eBay for you, all with no human interaction and with 100% accuracy. Even better, Hydra doesn't stop with just eBay, it will list the item on Amazon and any other marketplace you desire.
In conjunction with Channel Advisor's best offer management, Hydra can also dynamically set your best offer acceptance threshold based on the cost you list for that item in Airtable so that all of your listings will have the best offer option. The system will automatically accept and deny offers based on a predetermined algorithm that you set. For instance, if you have an item with a $100 sell for that has a breakeven of $40 you might only be willing to accept a $90 offer within the first 3 days after it is listed, but then each week that goes by you are willing to take $10 less until you reach your breakeven. Again, all with no human intervention.
The key to successfully selling used items online is not only in your ability to properly procure merchandise but also in your ability to efficiently list those items. We encourage you to introduce automation and speed into your listing process. Take our 5-minute Marketplaces-as-a-Service survey to see how Vesta 9 can help transform your business.