Ch 6: Pricing Items
Without first looking at the going price of items on each marketplace, you may seldom sell your inventory. While working at the eBay drop-off store, I heard people say, “I’ll take $20 off of the retail price I paid.” Or even better was when someone would think just because it’s old it’s worth more than gold. Absolutely not. Price it lower if you want to see it sold.
While looking at active listings of similar products, there may be other listings that are priced too high while those listings may have been listed for months. On eBay, you can search specifically for Sold Items. This gives a better gauge of the price buyers are willing to pay for the items.
Expectations of Selling
Sentimental value never transfers over to the price people are willing to pay for items. “I’ll take no less than three times the price I see it selling on eBay.” Then you will keep the item for a long time and realize it will never appreciate in value. This is not the case for everything but it is the case for most things. I can’t tell you the amount of Dale Earnhardt, Norman Rockwell and collector plates I’ve seen where people that thought they’ve been holding onto bars of gold that can only get better over time. I had to set the expectation before I can explain pricing.
The only channel that offers bidding is eBay. I used to use this on every listing, starting the price at $9.99 and see what it goes for. But since the auction-style craze isn’t really a focus anymore, you may just end up selling something at $10. I would list well known items (such as electronics) as auction-style. A new iPhone is going to sell for the going rate, so why not entice a bidding war. Adding a Buy It Now or a Reserve Price to auction-style listings is almost pointless. The other auction-style listing would be for items I can’t fully grasp the online worth of the item. When well described, people who know what the item is may pay a premium since the item is a rare item. I sold a 6′ tall handmade metal sculpture of the alien from the movie Aliens. It was an incredible piece but had no idea what the online value might be. It ended up getting 37 bids and sold for $2,800 to someone in LA. The owner let me start the bidding at $499 with no reserve.
Fixed Price listings are something more universal with marketplaces. It requires more patience because you may not sell and item during that week of listing it. If priced to make a profit, the item may be listed for a month or longer. Be sure to price according to the lower prices that are on each channel. On Amazon, you will see prices lowest to highest that include the selling price and the shipping amount. So, if you are selling yours for $8 more than the lowest price, it may sit online and not start to sell until that distributor runs out of their inventory.
On marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon Handmade, the pricing is subject to the marketing and how well you advertise your product. When selling your own items, people may not be shopping around as much but they would be paying for the quality, style, description, shipping speed and price.
Prices tend to fluctuate across all channels. Never set it and forget about it. Seasons and circumstances change frequently. Snow gear sells well November through February while sports memorabilia sells during those sport seasons. Regarding circumstances, I’ve sold discontinued Bath and Body Works items for twice the retail price and also Polaroid film when they decided to close up shop. Some items you will lose money but then some you will make more than you initially anticipated.
This post is sixth in the series of 2016 Online Selling Guide