I found these Ralph Lauren pillow cases at Marshalls, an off priced retailer, in the clearance section for $10.60 including tax. This was my first time trying linens so I did not know what to expect. I liked these, they were a cool purple color, obviously they were in the clearance section because they were an odd color and not mainstream.
TIP: Odd stuff sells on ebay, when a store cannot find a buyer for an item; chances are someone will want it on ebay. Shopping clearance sections for weird items is a great way to find inventory at cheap prices.
I searched similar items on ebay, clicked advanced search, clicked sold, and scanned the sold listings to see what people were buying items like this for. Most of them were selling between $20 and $30; I chose to start my listing at a buy it now price of $24.99 including free shipping for 30 days.
TIP: Before I buy an item, I always check out the competition first then I check sold listings to know what the item is selling for. I then re-check this info before I list the item, ebay changes daily, what sold yesterday may not sell today for the same price.
The pillow cases were on ebay for about a week with 9 page views and 1 watcher, not great but enough interest in my opinion to let the listing go longer. A couple of days later, I decided to lower the price and break it down, I changed the price to $16.99 plus $4.99 shipping, total price $21.98 and the item sold the next day. Was it the $3 price reduction, the price appeared to be much lower, or the right buyer at the right time. I will try to break an item down 1 factor at a time in the future so maybe it will give us a better idea of what caused the sale.
TIP: I was told once, when an item is sitting dormant, do something different, lower the price, break the price down, take different/better pictures, write a better description, if you want a different outcome you have to do something different. For example maybe start with the total price of $16.99 plus free shipping, and then if it doesn’t sell after 7-14 days go to $14.99 including free shipping, ebay sends out emails to people who viewed your item and alerts them that the price has been reduced, great marketing technique to take advantage of at no cost to you. If it still doesn’t sell maybe re-list the item at a broken down price $10.99 plus $3.99 shipping, $14.98 total, for another 7-14 days. Every product and buyer is different, so you can decide for yourself what approach to take.
TIP: Other reasons why an item is not selling is it was priced too high to begin with, don’t forget to do your research, the pictures were not good enough, the description was too vague, no one in the world wants it, or it is very specialized and it will take a long time to find the right buyer, the market may be flooded, just to name a few. Don’t forget to look at all factors if you have an item that is not selling, it may not be just about price; however from my experience it is always about the money.
The following is the cost break down for the Ralph Lauren pillow cases:
$10.60 item cost including tax
$3.65 USPS first class shipping fee (still no scale, could have been less if I weighed my package)
$2.20 ebay fee (10% of the total sale)
$.66 Paypal fee (3% of the total sale)
$.08 poly mailer
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The total cost for my item was $17.19 including all fees, my item sold for $21.98, I made $4.79.
TIP: Everyone says find a niche, something you know, and go deep. Going deep can help protect your territory, but I would add keep an open mind and stay diverse. When you go deep into a niche you are limiting the number of buyers because you are specializing in a specific concept. I try to find products that appeal to many people and I try to be competitive on the price so I continue to sell consistently and quickly, but if you find unique patterns and/or colors you can hold strong and possibly get more for your items. You don’t want to have all of your eggs in one basket, you never know when a product is going to get flooded and/or someone is going to undercut you. If you have diversity in your product portfolio then you should experience success year round. After all you don’t want to be able to visit Chuck E. Cheese’s this month and not be able to visit next month and have to explain to your kids that someone on ebay started ordering your same product from China and are now selling it at half the price so you can’t buy tokens anymore.