After the crazy deals and euphoric spending habits of the holiday season, buyers from all over the world start getting their credit card bills and, just like that, reality strikes.
“Holy crap, I actually have to start paying for this stuff?!”
All of a sudden, budgets start to tighten up, spending goes down, eBay activity takes a nosedive, and before you know it, we’ve entered into what I call the “January Dip”.
That dreaded few weeks after the holidays when you want to tap the eBay microphone and say “Hello?? Is anybody there??…Hello!?”
It never fails. This happens every year and I’ve seen it in some years extend all the way to March.
In the past, all I could do was just sit back powerless and hope for the best. Yeah, not a good feeling to have.
Luckily, I’ve learned a few things over the years so that my post-holiday season doesn’t result in an eBay hangover.
Don’t get me wrong, the “January Dip” still hits me but I’ve been able to soften the blow and keep the cash flow coming despite the decreased activity.
Here’s a short video of a what my iPad mini sounds after completing some recent sales:
Wanna keep the good times rolling after December? Wanna hear these sounds for yourself?
Here’s how you do it.
First, you need to accept the fact that this WILL happen after the holidays. Activity will decrease and eBay will be slow down – there’s just no way around it.
Being anxious and worried will not stop it from happening. So instead of worrying about your sales and wishing that it could be Christmas all over again, you should focus your energy on how you’re going to overcome it instead.
That includes staying positive and keeping your activity level up. Keep visiting your thrift stores and keep listing. Just put your head down and put in the work. That’s the first step.
Buyers will eventually pay their bills, they’ll start to let loose with their spending again, and eBay will get back to normal. And I don’t know about you but I’ll be ready when it happens.
Cash (Flow) is King
The second thing you need to do is shift your mindset a little.
During the holidays, I wanted to take squeak out EVERY. SINGLE. DOLLAR. of profit that I could from each item. Because everyone had a spending mentality during that time you could charge higher prices and still get a consistent flow of cash coming in.
Come January, however, you need to adjust your strategy a little as buyer’s spending habits start to slow down. You can still charge high prices but realize that you may be waiting a longer than usual for that item to sell. So instead of a nice stream coming in, it’ll be more like a trickle.
So there’s definitely a trade-off: Do you want to make money now or do you want to play the waiting game? I don’t know about you but I’d rather get paid NOW!!
A $50 Sale Is Worth More than a $100 Auction
This is the thrift store reselling version of that old saying “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” and it basically sums up my strategy for the first month and half after the holidays.
My main goal during this period is NOT to maximize my profits; instead, my goal is to maintain my cash flow. What’s the difference?
Maybe an example will help clarify.
These youth Nike Lebron’s are worth $50 each on eBay and that’s exactly what I had them listed initially ($49.99 each, Buy it now).
They attracted a lot of interested buyers but no one was able to push that Buy-it-Now button and commit. So what do I do? Do I just let it sit there and hope that someone eventually buys it or do I take action and give those buyers a good “nudge”.
I took action.
I ended the BIN auctions and re-listed both pairs for $24.99 auction -format. Both pairs sold for $24.99 each to the same buyer and they paid right away.
Right now I know some of you are thinking “But Meinard, those items are worth $100 combined. You just lost $50 in potential profits.”
True, but unfortunately “potential” doesn’t pay our eBay fees, cell phone bills, or whatever else we use eBay for. I wish it did, but it doesn’t.
I have no way of knowing if and when a buyer would’ve bought those pairs for $100. The important thing right now is that there’s $50 dollars in my pocket (well, my “Paypal pocket”) and I can go and find the next thrift store item that I can resell.
I know sometimes this can be a tough strategy to follow because we get it stuck in our mind that “No, this item is worth X amount and there’s no way I’m letting it go for less!”
Again, there’s nothing wrong this mindset but if your goal is similar to mine (maintaining your cash flow) then you have to become more flexible with your items and you can’t become to attached to them.
After December, I’m much more lax about what I’ll accept for an item. In fact, for the most part, I let the market dictate the “value” of an item.
How do I do that?
Simple: By using the auction-format and starting the auction at $9.99-$24.99.
This is a gamble for sure but ,typically, the items that I purchase (and hopefully the items that you purchase) at the thrift stores are worth a lot more that this price so I’m not too worried. Remember, I’m trying to keep the cash flow going, not maximize profit.
Having a low starting price on your items will invite even the most spendthrift person to place a bid. Sometimes, all you need is that very first bid and all of a sudden the value skyrockets.
Check out these items for example:
Winning Bid: $56.00
Winning Bid: $55.89
Of course it all depends on the items your selling as well, so hopefully you’ve been buying only quality items. Just a heads up, those Old Navy jeans you always see at Goodwill probably won’t start a heated bidding war any time soon. Nothing against the brand, I’m just saying the truth.
My Selling Strategy for January and February: Disney “Frozen” Edition
Again, cash flow is KING for me right now. I’m going to continue to use the auction-format heavily these next few weeks. I’m also going to start them at a low price with a shorter duration (5 days as oppose to 7) so the cash flow arrive even soon.
Come on buyers, I dare you NOT to place a bid at these prices lol
Even if I don’t get the price that I expect, cash is still coming in and that’s the most important thing.
Give it a try. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? You would make some sales and move some inventory?! Oh no!
Seriously though, if your sales have slowed down then this strategy is worth a shot. You don’t have to auction off EVERYTHING. Try it out on a few items and see how it goes.
Good luck and I’ll talk to you soon