Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend Ebay Sales Update

My sales over Memorial Day weekend weren't exactly as good as I was hoping for, though it was about what I expected. I wasn't expecting through the roof sales for 2 reasons: 1. It's a holiday weekend and in most areas, it was pretty nice out. People were out at the lake and having fun. 2. it was the end of the month and my sales always, always suck towards the end of the month. My sales definitely have a trend and I will write about that trend one of these days.

I did however manage to make all my ebay fees within a week, most of that was made over the 3 day weekend. Thank goodness. I was worried part of my fees would come out of my checking account and I hate when that happens.

I only had 20 packages to take to the post office. That isn't good for 3 days. I usually have about 20 packages on a 2 day weekend. I know 20 isn't that much in comparison to other sellers, but that is how my sales average. I was averaging about 10-14 packages a weekend, so I am growing, very slowly. Last weekend I had 24 packages. It was a good weekend for me.

So the reason I'm disappointed in my sales is because I've been listing like a mad woman. For over 2 weeks especially. I've been listing like crazy for a month, but especially the last 2 weeks. My sales should be sky rocketing, right? You would think. I even ran sales all weekend, most of my store was 35% off. But I'm still hoping things will catch up and I will start seeing even better sales. 

Oh yeah! I forgot. I have 4 items that haven't been paid for. I had some auctions end and 4 of them haven't paid. So had they paid, I would have had 24 packages. So what am I complaining about? My sales for a lot of these items were really low. I had a few high priced items that sold, but most were just a few bucks plus shipping.

I really hope the next couple of weeks will bring way more sales. I haven't quite hit my goal this month. I had a goal to make 2,000 this month, which would be about double or more my average monthly sales. I am about 270 under that goal. I have 1 day left, so who knows.

This photo is from April 30th. I am just counting from May 1 - May 31. I'll report back on this after May 31. I know, it's not great, but it is my best month by far. I'm slowly getting to where I want to be. I will get there soon enough.

I hope and pray that June will be better. Summers are tough for me, but I'm working harder than ever. Maybe I will hit my goal.

Some of my sales:

Old Navy Embroidered Boho Top Size XL - $10.35 + 3.75 shipping
Womens Mizuno Softball pants - $17.60 +4.50 shipping
Pink Republic Top - 12.40 - Free shipping
Forever 21 Dress - 6.50 + 3.75 shipping (I took a best offer, I made almost nothing on this dress but it's been listed a while so I took it)
Lucky Brand Skinny Jeans - $16.22 + 6.30 shipping 
Big Star Capri Jeans - 19.99 + 6.30 shipping

Those are just a few of my sales, some of my better ones. I had a 5-35% sale all weekend and I took several best offers. I also had some auctions that were mainly just to get rid of stuff that were only for a couple bucks. I'm waiting to get paid on a few items, but you know how that goes. Maybe I'll get paid, maybe I won't. 

I would post photos but I keep hearing horror stories about trolls harassing Ebayers. I'm just trying to make a living and support my family. I have 4 kids to help support. I am not trying to give trade secrets away, I just enjoy writing and blogging and I love Ebay. I think my hubby is getting tired of hearing about Ebay all day and all night, so I have been wanting to blog about it for a while. I've considered vlogging about it, also, but I haven't come to a decision on that one. I don't really talk to myself and I'm afraid I would be so awkward, feeling like I'm talking to myself, pretending anyone gives a crap what I have to say about anything. I do appreciate anyone who stops by and reads my blog! Thank you!! Please come back!!

How were your holiday weekend sales? Good I hope!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Is This Buyer Just Renting My Item? 30 or More Day Returns On Ebay

I don't get many returns. My return rate is 0.61%. That's not too high. I rarely ever get a return. I especially don't get returns at the 30 day mark. Until today. Someone requested a return for an item I had listed as like new condition 1 day before the 30 day mark. Let me make clear before I get into it, I'm not buyer bashing. I don't like buyer bashing at all, but some buyers do aggravate me. It's very rare, it almost never happens, but it does on occasion. So bare with me.

I have had 30 day returns for a year, or however long we've been required to offer 30 day returns in order to keep our top rated status. I have only had a few return requests, and no item not as described. All were because item didn't fit. That I can remember, that is. 

The pants in question. The photo might look a bit distorted
because they are a glossy pant, my camera makes them look funny.
You can see the dry clean tag still attached. These were well cared for and
only worn a couple times.
This person waited until they had one day left on a 30 day return to say their item didn't fit. That was their reason for requesting return. But in their comments section, they claim the item "seems extremely worn and faded." Well, now I know how my item is going to be returned to me. 

I remember the pants well. They were a pair of Old Navy black dress pants, that had only ever been dry cleaned. They had never been washed. They had a sort of shiny or glossy look, not like cotton that fades after a couple washes. They looked brand new when I shipped them. Brand new. No flaws at all. No fading, no pilling, no nothing. Perfect. I am very careful to always list any fading or pilling, even if it's very, very minor and barely noticeable. I do it for this exact reason. I don't want anyone saying there was the smallest amount of fading that I didn't list in my description. I tend to undersell the condition of my items to play it safe. I hardly ever list anything as very good or like new condition, even if it is. But sometimes an items looks brand new and I want my buyers to know it looks really good. These pants had no signs of wear other than needing a lint roller. They had a little lint because of the type of material it was, lint or "fuzzies" would want to stick to them. I'm not saying I'm perfect and never make mistakes, but this isn't a case of that. 

So, this is, in my opinion, a case of the buyer using the 30 days to rent a piece of clothing. I've had this happen once before with a blue leather jacket. It was returned with noticeable scratches in the leather that weren't there when I listed and shipped it. I think it was worn for a weekend event. But how could I prove that? They didn't screw me on shipping or claim item not described. Just that they didn't like the color. But it came back noticeably marked up.

I've noticed a trend with my returns. They always wait until the month is almost over. I wonder if it's buyers remorse. They spent too much money that month and now they have to return stuff so they can pay their bills or whatever. My returns have almost always been at the end of the month. I know this because my Ebay fees are due between the 30 to 31st of the month. So I'm always trying to make my fees back the last week of the month. When I have a return to issue, I'm thinking, "Oh, nice, right when I need that money to pay my fees."

Why would someone wait a month to return something that doesn't fit? That is my question. I've never understood this. I get why Ebay wants sellers to offer 30 day or 60 day returns to the point that they are competing with other retailers. They want to stay relevant. I want them to stay relevant! But at what cost. I understand if it's electronics that might stop working 30 days later. But used items? Used clothing? It's really hard to prove that the buyer is lying about a used item. It's all perception. I might think something looks good but the buyer sees things differently. So Ebay sides with the buyer because it's their opinion and they are free to not like what they purchased. But is it really my fault? And does it take 30 or 60 days to make that decision? I don't think so. If I buy something, I try it on right away and if it doesn't fit, I want either my money back or a replacement.

I don't think all buyers are lying. Not at all. But I believe this particular buyer added the faded part to cover their ass. So if I call Ebay and say, "hey these were returned to me in a different condition" they will say, "well, the buyer claims they were faded when they got them." It's my word against theirs. Or Ebay will think it's been so long that I won't remember what that item looked like. I've had Ebay side with me on several things (I rarely ever have to call them). But in this situation, I don't have much faith that they will side with me.

I am grateful that the buyer didn't claim Item Not As Described, so I don't have to cover shipping, but why claim they look extremely faded and worn? 

So I recently heard that Ebay is wanting sellers to offer 60 day returns now in order to be ranked higher in the algorithm. I never got an email about it from them, that I could find, but I saw it on a YouTube video. So I added 60 day returns about a week or so ago. I don't know if we have to have it to keep our TRS, or if it's just to help us rank higher. I probably need to call Ebay and ask. If I start having people request returns after 30 days on a regular basis, I might rethink the 60 day returns. I'll see if it actually helps me get more sales. Though I don't think I will be able to really tell, because I am listing more than ever. I won't know if it's the 60 days helping my sales or just simply all the listing I'm doing.

This is my first and only return request at the 30 day mark, so I don't think it's a trend by any means, but maybe the 60 day returns will attract the wrong buyers? I sure hope not. I think 99% of buyers are honest people. I think sellers are too quick to assume the buyer is lying, myself included. Because we never make mistakes, right? But sometimes we just KNOW. Obviously, my return rate is very low, so I'm doing something right. But those few bad eggs can just make me so frustrated. 

We'll see what happens next. I love Ebay and I just pretty much roll with whatever changes they decide to make. I have no choice, if I want to remain a Top Rated Seller and this job is extremely important to me. So I will do whatever I have to. I always pride myself on excellent customer service, but I won't let buyers jerk me around either. I've had a few buyers try to get me to issue partial refunds over the years and let them keep their item. I did that in the beginning because I was so afraid of negative feedback. My feelings have since changed. I won't let buyers dictate what kind of business I run. I have no problems issuing refunds, but I don't do partial refunds anymore, except for very rare occasions, or if I think maybe I did actually miss something in the listing. That almost never happens, though. If a buyer doesn't like the item or it doesn't fit, I have no problems issuing a refund, but they have to send it back. I don't just give money or stuff away for free.

I just wish Ebay would keep the small seller in mind, the seller who still sells used items. I'm a very honest seller. So it sucks when you come across a seemingly dishonest buyer. But as I said, at least they didn't state not as described as their reason for return. At least they were that honest. This sort of thing is inevitable in the resale business. I don't let it ruin my day anymore. I get irritated and vent about it, then I get over it. It's just business. Nothing I can do about it.

I'll update on how the pants show back up to me, faded or in the same condition they were sent. It'll be interesting. 

Thanks for reading and please come back!

What experiences have you had with people seeming to "rent" your items? Has Ebay sided with you when you say it showed up in different condition than you sent it, or you disagree with the buyers reason? Do you sell new or used items? Talk to me! :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My First Goodwill Outlet Trip

I've been selling on Ebay for 3 years now and I just recently went to the Goodwill Outlet. I'd been dying to go for quite a while. I had been watching some other resellers on YouTube and was seeing all of their incredible Outlet hauls for a while. I was jealous. Lol. I wanted to go so bad, but I wasn't able to use my small Ebay income to reinvest in my business. I was using it to pay bills and buy groceries since I wasn't working full time. But I thought about how much stuff I could potentially get for so little money and I could make so much more. I had to go!

My nearest outlet is 2 1/2 hours away in Kansas City, Mo. It's not extremely far, but not knowing if I would even find anything worth selling, I didn't know if it would be worth it. My husband Chris and I decided to go to Omaha, Ne, about 3 1/2 hours away, after we got our tax return. It was our Anniversary weekend and we had wanted to take a mini trip somewhere, so we decided to make it a business trip. We never get to go anywhere or do anything, so I was so excited for the whole experience. (My poor husband.) But that was my opportunity to put some money back into my business. I desperately wanted/want to grow my business to a point where we aren't living paycheck to paycheck and to be able to take little trips with our kids and enjoy our lives. I was sure the outlet would allow me to accomplish that.

When we got to the Omaha outlet,  I was initially super excited because there weren't hardly any cars in the parking lot. Once we walked inside, my excitement faded into disappointed. There were only 4 rows of approximately 3-6 bins. I was expecting what I had been seeing in other peoples photo's, with rows and rows of blue bins and tons of people fighting digging through them. That was not the case. I was glad there weren't many people, but there was only about 4, maybe 5 blue bins of clothing. I sell mostly women's clothes. There was 2 rows of about 5 or 6 blue bins of hard goods, which isn't my favorite. I will sell anything if it will make a little money, but clothes are my specialty. (I know some things, I'm not an expert, however). 

This is the Omaha Outlet.

(I wish I would have thought of taking pictures, but I didn't. I got a few photo's, but next time I go, I will definitely remind myself to take photos. I didn't want people looking at me like I'm a weirdo. Those were the bins next to the clothes. What you see are actually 3 rows, I guess. The closest to the wall are clothes. That was the only row of clothes. The bins up close in the photo are mostly hard goods. There was only the 2 or 3 bins. There was 2 more rows around the corner of more hard goods which consisted of approximately 4-6 blue bins per row. It was pretty bare compared to the 2 other outlets I've been to since.)

I dug through the bins and I did find some stuff. I found a cart full of clothes, surprisingly. Mostly just every day mall brands, which is the majority of what I sell. I was disappointed that I didn't find a hundred pounds of stuff. 

My husband, sensing my disappointment, looked up how far the Des Moines outlet was. It was 2 hours away. He suggested going there, since we were staying in Omaha for 2 more days. He knew we wouldn't be going home with as much stuff as I was hoping. I really needed to get as much as possible to grow as much as I needed to.

Let me add real quickly, the employee working the 2 days we went to the Omaha outlet was extremely friendly. I think her name was Shantell or Shante, something like that. She was the sweetest, friendliest person. I would go to the Omaha Outlet again in the future but I would like to make it another Omaha/Des Moines trip. I'm sure Chris is just thrilled to hear that! Lol!

So we drove the 2 hours to Des Moines. I am so lucky to have such a supportive husband. He drove the whole way. It was pouring rain the whole time. He never complained once that this is how we were spending our 6th Anniversary. He knew how much it meant to me. He did so much driving on that trip. I slept most of the way :) We wanted to visit the zoo while we were in Omaha, but it rained the entire 3 days we were there. 

This photo is from one of our Anniversaries a few years ago in
 Ponca City, Ok where we got married. We forgot to
 take a selfie on this trip.
The Goodwill Outlet in Des Moines is set in a small strip mall type area. It looked smaller than the Omaha outlet from the outside. The Omaha outlet was set in more of a warehouse type district. The parking lot in Des Moines had more cars, but there were also more stores nearby, so I couldn't tell if it was going to be packed, which I was worried about since it was already 12:30.

When we walked inside, I was so relieved. It was exactly what I was hoping Omaha outlet would be. There were rows and rows of bins. Mostly clothing. And there weren't really that many people, compared to what I was expecting. I was in heaven! I got my cart and got to work.

I purchased 121 pounds of clothing. YES! I spent $119.79. It's .99 a pound after 25 pounds. At the Omaha outlet, I only found 63 pounds of clothes, and a heavy laptop backpack. I also got a heavy book for my son. But I only spent $45.31 there. Their prices are awesome. It's .99 a pound until you get to 25 pounds, then it's .67 per pound. That is the best price I've seen yet.

Chris and I were staying right outside of Omaha but we went back to Des Moines the next morning as well. I got another 77 pounds. They had a lot of the same stuff they had the day before. They don't change out bins very often at all. Neither does the Omaha outlet. Unlike the Kansas City outlet that we went to 2 weeks later, but I'll write about the KC outlet in another post. That is a whole different story!

My last Omaha Goodwill Outlet Haul.

Before we headed back home on Monday, we stopped at the Omaha outlet again, just to see if I could find anything else. Chris wasn't thrilled because our van was so full of clothes. He worried about all the extra weight, but I said "we have 3 teenagers back there all the time, plus 2 more kids in the middle. I'm sure the teenagers weigh more than that." I was glad we went back though because I found even more stuff than I did the first time we went. I got 80 pounds and I probably could have found more but Chris was giving me the look. So I called it.

In total, I came home with 341.8 pounds! I was so excited to go through everything, because being my first time at the bins and having 2 carts full of stuff by the end of my trips, I couldn't really go through everything to determine if I really wanted it. I figured, I'm barely paying anything for each item, so if it doesn't work, I'm not losing much. I was dying to sort through everything. That is the funnest part.


It's hard to tell from the photo's just how much we came home with. I really wish I had taken more, better photo's. But next time I will do better. I'm dying to go back already. It is seriously addictive. I have so much stuff to list though and Chris is trying to say we aren't going back until I get it all listed. Ha! We'll see about that. I have to go before I have everything listed. I can't wait until everything is listed. I need to keep inventory so I can list at least 20 items per day consistently.

Like I said, we went to KC outlet 2 weekends later and I will write about that later. But between these 2 trips, I and a couple yard sales, I have probably over 700 pieces to get listed. I have a lot of sweaters though and I'm going to hold off on listing those until the end. I know sweaters can sell all year, I do global shipping now, but sweaters don't sell great for me during the summer, unless it's light weight. I, however, will wear a sweater all year round. It gets hot in Kansas but I'm always freezing.

Here's what my house looked like after we got everything home:

I had all this. Isn't it incredible? 

So I have been working on photographing and listing. I bought a new lighting system and it is amazing how good my pictures look now. 

Don't they look great? I've always done my best to use really good photos. When I first started, they weren't great because I was using a Motorola Droid Razer, but I upgraded to a Galaxy s6 a couple years ago. I could upgrade to a 7 now but I haven't decided if I will yet. I've always used a nice white background, but I love the gray fur. I don't like to copy people, ever. I do my own thing, but sometimes we get inspired by other people and we add our own  special touches and flare to it. I know I'm off topic now. I'll do a post on my photographs sometime. 

Since this Outlet haul, my sales are up 55%. I have had my best sales month ever since I started selling on Ebay. I am so happy with where I'm at. I have a goal to make a certain amount by the end of the summer. As I've said before, I wasn't using my income to buy more inventory so I was never able to get above a certain sales amount. I was probably averaging only $800 a month last year. During busy months, around Christmas and such, I was making maybe $1200 at most. Even though this was my only job, I was only thinking of it like it was a part time job, not a full time job. But now, I'm really working on growth. I'm hoping to be at $3000 in sales by the end of the summer, which is quite a feat for me because summer is usually really slow. But I believe I can do it if I'm listing like crazy every day. By the end of the year, I'm hoping to be averaging $5000 a month. I know there are a lot of sellers making that much and way more right now. Sellers who started after I did. Some sellers are making over 10, 20 thousand a month, selling pre-owned clothing! So I know if I really work hard, I can reach that goal. Of course, my costs, such as shipping, subscription and everything is about 45% of my sales right now. That is pretty high.

My daughter is helping me a couple hours a day now, uploading photo's for me. So that will help a lot. I'm paying her for her help. I'm hoping to teach her, so she can start her own account if she chooses to when she's old enough. It would be great for her to make a little money and to be her own boss.

Well, I guess I'll end on that. Sorry for the long post. I have so much to say about selling on Ebay and sourcing and so many things about Ebay. I love my job. It is the hardest I've every worked in my life. And I've had jobs that are not easy but this is the most work I've every put into anything. I love it so it makes it worth every minute. This isn't just a hobby. This is a business. This is serious and it's legit. And I am so grateful for what I have and what I'm able to do. I'm grateful to my family for their support and for putting up with my long, crazy hours. And I'm grateful to Chris for driving long hours to make me happy. And I'm grateful to God for everything single I have and have accomplished, (and for getting us home safely when it turned out one of our tires was on the verge of blowing after I had just taken the van in it have the tires checked!)

I'll write again soon! Maybe I'll even make a video and upload it here soon also. I don't know. I'm more nervous about that. I don't talk to myself that much or talking in general, so it will be weird talking to a camera. But I might give it a try. I'll also write some about my sales, my haul finds and other things. Sorry if I had any typo's and for rambling a little. I am in a hurry to get back to work. Thanks for stopping by!! Please come back!

What outlets have you gone to and do you think it's worth the trip?

Ebay Sales Update, How much I'm Making Right Now

It's been a long, long time since I've written here. There's a really good reason for that. I have been so busy working on growi...