EBay Store Prices
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 5:05 pm 
 

Given that many of you are sellers as well as collectors....



How do EBay store owners come up with their prices?  Do you have a formula in mind?  A judgement of what the market will bear?



Do some store owners price their items not to sell?  (Which sounds dumb, but maybe they want to keep their items unless they are going for a certain markup.)



For example, consider the EBay listing here:



http://cgi.ebay.com/STORMBRINGER-YOUNG- ... dZViewItem



High Quality Comics knows that this booklet is only part of a boxed set.  (I have asked them if it is a set or just a booklet.)  They also have to know that full boxed sets sell for as low as a quarter of their asking price, and that this booklet is not particularly rare or desireable by itself.  (Even a collector needing to complete his own set could find this booklet for much less.)  What is High Quality Comics thinking?



Given that EBay provides a list of all products of a certain type, and that it is therefore possible to compare all similar products side-by-side, why do some sellers persist in their pricing and/or marketing decisions?  Even a totally new EBay shopper, even one with limited mental capactity, would be capable of looking at side-by-side listings and seeing that one was less than the other.  Right?



Even a new seller, who just discovered EBay, would be capable of elementary price research.  Right?



What gives?  What do you think people out there are thinking?



Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 5:49 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Given that many of you are sellers as well as collectors....

How do EBay store owners come up with their prices?  Do you have a formula in mind?  A judgement of what the market will bear?

Do some store owners price their items not to sell?  (Which sounds dumb, but maybe they want to keep their items unless they are going for a certain markup.)

For example, consider the EBay listing here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/STORMBRINGER-YOUNG- ... dZViewItem

High Quality Comics knows that this booklet is only part of a boxed set.  (I have asked them if it is a set or just a booklet.)  They also have to know that full boxed sets sell for as low as a quarter of their asking price, and that this booklet is not particularly rare or desireable by itself.  (Even a collector needing to complete his own set could find this booklet for much less.)  What is High Quality Comics thinking?

Given that EBay provides a list of all products of a certain type, and that it is therefore possible to compare all similar products side-by-side, why do some sellers persist in their pricing and/or marketing decisions?  Even a totally new EBay shopper, even one with limited mental capactity, would be capable of looking at side-by-side listings and seeing that one was less than the other.  Right?

Even a new seller, who just discovered EBay, would be capable of elementary price research.  Right?

What gives?  What do you think people out there are thinking?

Mark   8)




There is a lot of things going on here.  It has to do with philosophies of selling.  Some sellers feel they need to move product, while making a dedent profit, others believe in maximizing product. whatever the case.  I have local used bookstores that have had items on their shelves for several years without lowering hte prices.  I know other bookstores that periodically have sales to clean off their shelves.

   I think the way the Ebay system works, there is little penalty for listing an item for whatever price comes into your head when using your ebay store.  The listings are only 2 cents a month (basiclaly a quarter a year) so no harm done there, you can have the basic ebay store for $20 a month so that is your only real expense.  Look at Vahalla books, a big whipping boy on this site for ludicrous pricing.  Their philosophy seems to be if they can hoodwink one newbie a month, the cost is worth it, they will make a profit.

  I would put myself under the category of pricing to sell.  Long ago a successful businessman told me that overstock is a store owner's worst enemy.  It does nothing and generates nothing.  The quicker you can get something for it and move it out, the quicker you can stock new (and hopefully better selling items) and make space.  By overpricing items you siimply make back stock removal that much more difficult.

   The other category is Maximizing your profit. In other words stick $500 on an H1 in the hopef that someone MIGHT come along and buy it for that..you in effect win the Lotto.  And, you figure, if after a year no one has bought it for that price, it's only cost you a quarter and you can simply lower the price to $300 for the next year. They figure eventually they will reach a target buyer, one who has a price in mind and will purchase the item when it reaches that price.

  A lot of the bad pricing can just be attributed to seller inexperience in the ebay arena. A lot of brick and mortar stores that just start on ebay have to get over the concept that they are NO LONGER the ONLY bookstore/gameshop/comic store in Bumfuck, Texas or whatever town  they operate out of.  So the fact they are used to putting whatever price comes into their head when pricing for their store takes a rude pounding when your competition includes dozens of others selling the same thing for much cheaper. I've talked to more than one would-be Ebay dealer who has given up entirely and gone back 100% to selling brick and mortar simply because they could not figure the ebay market out (they continually overpriced their items and sold very little in both cases). They honestly could not figure out how I sold that much stuff on ebay and made any sort of profit (and I really don't even sell THAT much stuff, not as much as some of the bigger sellers).  

     So I guess it comes down to either greed or ignorance in most cases where items are way out of whack pricewise on Ebay.



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Post Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:03 pm 
 

Is it possibly a lack of technical ability?

Getting an idea of the going price for an item would seem to take only a click or two.

I imagine that getting the shipping just right is probably the most difficult aspect of a listing.  I know there are some that just cut right across it and charge a slightly-too-high price for all shipping.  Generally, these sellers also provide almost no break in combined shipping.

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Post Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:07 pm 
 

Another aspect of selling that puzzles me....

Sellers who do not list their stock.  Wonderworld Books, for instance.  They are located in Burien, Washington.  Their store is, quite literally, a warehouse of arcane goods from all of Seattle's defunct game stores.

They say their main business is on EBay....yet one sees only a fraction of the listings that one might expect from a store literally overstuffed (so many boxes it blocks the path through their store) with items.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:08 pm 
 

The way I see it, if you want to shift product quickly and you don't have  stacks of the same thing, the best thing to do is place it in open auction.

EBay Shops are for people who have dozens of the same thing to shift at a low price, or items they can afford to sit on for a long time. You set your price as high as the market will bear, and then you sit on the product for as long as it takes.

You then have the assurance that whenever anyone does a search for something like Starstone, yours is there and still available for the impulse buy.

These items being a constant presence on eBay helps keep the market boyant. They may also influence price in an upward way accross the board, but that remains to be seen. But sure as egs is eggs, sooner or later someone will pay the price you're asking for and the item will be gone.


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 12:24 pm 
 

An interesting anecdote related to this topic....

I emailed Wonderworld, In Burien, Washington, because a guy on Dragonsfoot told me they had closed.  I got this response:

Wonderworld - Seattle

Hi!

Yes, unfortunately the store closed last February. The landlords wanted to try and get more money out of the space,
which remains vacant to date. But, the handwriting was on the wall. More and more customers over the past years are buying
online. The latest retail casualty is the Game Wizard in Ballard. They've closed down.

I couldn't run both a retail store and sell on ebay too; so I'm concentrating on selling existing inventory on ebay, which
will take years to do, too.

So it goes!

Thanks for inquiring,

Dave


    It will certainly take years to sell off Wonderworld's existing stock...almost without a doubt as they have a huge stock and they regularly price their EBay items at 2-3 times the going EBay rate.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 12:12 am 
 

I pretty much guess prices for anything in my ebay store. I try not to go over the top and generally everything will go sooner or later, and at 3p a go it really doesn't matter anyhow. Much of the stuff I list in my shop I want to keep hold of briefly to read anyway so it just gives me a bit of time (Also I can genuinely say to the good lady ' yes darling it's currently up for sale' - Though that excuse is quite redundant when the sale item is residing in the smallest room in the house with a book mark in it!!)
The other thing is that, I don't really do ebay for a profit - I basically just do it so lots of games and stuff pass through my hands pretty much for free in the long run) (Mark - that Stormbringer lot that you tried to BIN would be a great example - it's just about gone now and I think I made about £2.00 total on all 8 books, which made it easy to send one over the pond to your goodself).
(The one really irritating thing about shop items is when they sell immediately upon listing - you just can't help but feel that you've lost out!!)
So - I like my ebay shop - it's cheap - it ticks over - and it means I don't have to stress too much about my stuff - Everyone's a winner


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:49 am 
 

You eventually get an idea of what will sell at what price after having sold items over the years.  You remember the interest level based on # of watchers, the price ranges they tend to go for, and the times you've been outbid trying the purchase the same item yourself.

I just reopened my ebay store . . . I think I like the whole thing better this time around.  I've changed my focus a little to "higher" end RPG items ($25-$100 that is).  Changing jobs has gotten me a lot less free time as well - I used to make "auctions only" work because I would be sure to ALWAYS relist items that were unsold as items that will sell.  This ensured I was getting my listing refund . . .  but it was time consuming and became a hassle as I tried to sell more expensive inventory.

I try to undercut the other store owners and have the cheapest price listed when possible.  It usually works out well since I buy all my inventory from ebay auctions . . .  I spend a lot of time searching and setting snipes though. :D

Anyway, it is definitely profitable.  Over the years, I earned back well over three times what I've put into it (not counting labor!)


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:10 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Given that many of you are sellers as well as collectors....

How do EBay store owners come up with their prices?  Do you have a formula in mind?  A judgement of what the market will bear?

Well, I live in a different country and I own and operate a traditional brick and mortar store, so my thoughts shoulòd be considered with a pinch of salt by Americans. Anyway, here are my two (euro)cents... :wink:

I operate an EBay store which is mainly devoted to current products in Italian language. At the monent Italy lives a deep economical crisis and many fellow retailers (usually the comic/game store variety) stock virtually only 'guaranteed sales' products and have very little, if all, backstock. This usually means, for RPGs, Dungeons & Dragons and Vampire (barring local preferences and trends); for boardgames products such as Carcassonne, Puerto Rico and an handful of titles (usually the ones translated into Italian) and so on; this opens a viable market, albeit small, for second and third rank (in sales terms, not quality!) products, especially the Italian language but out of print ones.

For example, I regularly sell copies of the Call of Cthulu Italian rulebook, along many books for it: CoC is not in good health here, so it's getting harder and harder to find (the Italian publisher told me once that because I ordered six copies of new CoC books in Italian I was a "very important" customer for such a line   :cry: ) in stores. Retailers simply have no desire to stock such 'unsafe' titles. This is where I enter in the picture... I sell current titles at the MSRP with no discounts, but I offer free shipping. This is an important psicological advantage on competitors which sell current products at MSRP plus shipping and other (usually amateurs) which offer discounts but ask for shipping charges.

Then there are customers living in small towns and so unable to find anything near them, unless they special order or such. There are anyway amazing phenomena: I sold many copies of the Battles of the Third Age expansion for the War of the Ring boardgame (proudly made in Italy  :D ) in large cities such as Milan or Turin which are well served by many stores. I have no clue about this, but I'm happy nonetheless  :D

About collector pieces, there is a need to divide Italian language items and English langiage ones. The market for vintage games here is clearly on the rise, especially for RPGs and boardgames. The problem here is supply: is very hard to find copies of some Italian titles, especially the old ones, so pricing is virtually a bet. It took me alonst TEN YEARS to find a good copy of Magikon, an Italian semi RPG published in 1983... I found for example a couple of copies of some old Italian RPGs in an used bookstore, paying them 2 euros apiece and selling them for 25 euros each. I was happy, but I wondered if I could earn more...

TSR Dungeons & Dragons is another matter: I have bought a LARGE inventory of D&D items for a very small price and I sell them for a low price (shrinkwrapped modules 5 euros apiece) because the publisher still has a lot of some of them. Some titles have sold out, usually because I bought the entire remaining stock for them so I price them more. For example, I have the entire remaining stock (well, almost...) of B1-9 In Search of Adventire and I sell them at 25 euros (still a good price I must say...). If I had the warehouse space, I'd have bought everything the publisher still had (and if I finalize an agreement, I'll do it!).

About English language items, I gauge interest using the auctions in the US and UK websites, but I don't price items following final bids. The reason is: shipping costs! I usually price items 50%-100% more and I list them only in the EBay store. They sell slowly, but I'm not in a hurry...

  

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Post Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 2:38 pm 
 

The way I figure it is....

There must be two general types of EBay store owner:

1)  The hobbyist.

2)  The full-time game store owner.

    I understand the hobbyist.  He can price things at whatever he wants because time is on his side.  He might even want to hang onto his stock as long as possible...as in the example given above...so he can read it and enjoy the entire sale process.  This general category would include everyone with a second job who sells on EBay for a profit.

   Of the full-time store owners, I do understand a professional with astronomical prices.  For instance, a store like Valhalla Games, over in Australia, is pricing things out of sight on the off chance that someone will be suckered.  If they make one $2000 sale for a re-shrinked copy of B-2, they have made their month.

  I do not understand the full-time business model where one prices all of his products 2-3 times above going price and lets them sit.  Even if one or two or five sales are made per month, that won't pay any bills.   With the expensive shipping some stores tack on, they probably sell less than that.  

    Some of them are, of course, making money selling from their store front and don't really need the EBay money.  But consider Wonderworld, above.  They clearly could not stay in business with the store front, yet even while acknowledging that most gamers buy online, they have been unwilling to dominate that market.  It is puzzling.

    I know it's heresy to say, but the sensible full-time business model seems to be the one pursued by Titan Games.  They have a store front (obviously...otherwise how could their store have been robbed?) but they are priced to sell and their shipping markup covers most of their other costs.  They are not really selling to the collector, who can shop around and who must always work an edge on shipping.  But, to the smaller purchaser (me, for instance, although I am not a perfect example), who is purchasing smaller items one at a time, their business model seems to work.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:49 pm 
 

As most of you know I run a medium sized ebay store (generally 500 items up at any given time) and have a turnover of around 40 - 50% of my items every month.  I price competitively, however over time I will often be undercut and it looks like I'm sitting on a crazy price, when in reality it's just that I haven't gotten that particular item caught up to the new price trend.  I sell mostly NON-dungeons and dragons products, though I have quite a bit of d20 stuff so my market is a generally to gamers rather than collectors. I do this "full-timeish"  as I do not have an outside job, however I'm not the one paying the mortgage every month either,  I make enough to give our family some nicer things while still staying at home with our child.  My prices are all individually researched when the item is listed.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:11 pm 
 

I would say that you are an example of an EBay store owner with current prices and timely listings, Reindeergamez.  You are also outstanding on things like shipping.

So, there's a third category of EBay store owner...the semi-pro.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:51 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:
   Of the full-time store owners, I do understand a professional with astronomical prices.  For instance, a store like Valhalla Games, over in Australia, is pricing things out of sight on the off chance that someone will be suckered.  If they make one $2000 sale for a re-shrinked copy of B-2, they have made their month.

 


I've heard similar sentiments voiced a couple of times . . . I think you guys are giving them too much credit.  I don't suspect that a brand new ebay store owner who has only earned 4 feedbacks in two months (two of them for pajamas) qualifies as an insightful business owner who is simply putting up a storefront on the "off-chance" that someone buys one item . . .

Please . . . if your business is going to be helped by a one measly sale then you are in deep trouble already.  The $1,000 items will NEVER sell.  NEVER.  The ebay store fees are more than they're making.  Two weeks . . .  no sales.

More likely they are just clueless.  I bet they thought this stuff would actually sell.  :roll:


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Post Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:20 pm 
 

Beyondthebreach wrote:
I've heard similar sentiments voiced a couple of times . . . I think you guys are giving them too much credit.  I don't suspect that a brand new ebay store owner who has only earned 4 feedbacks in two months (two of them for pajamas) qualifies as an insightful business owner who is simply putting up a storefront on the "off-chance" that someone buys one item . . .

Please . . . if your business is going to be helped by a one measly sale then you are in deep trouble already.  The $1,000 items will NEVER sell.  NEVER.  The ebay store fees are more than they're making.  Two weeks . . .  no sales.

More likely they are just clueless.  I bet they thought this stuff would actually sell.  :roll:


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Like I said, either greed or ignorance...you can almost boil down bad store owners into one of these two categories. Valhalla might still have the jury out....they do appear to be too stupid to tie their shoes much less populate an Ebay store, but who knows.  Maybe it's from the guy's personal collection and he doesn't actually want to sell anything unless someone agrees to be raped in return.

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Post Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:42 pm 
 

But how ignorant could he be?  The information for comparisons is right there....  8O


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Post Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:00 pm 
 

How do the new Ebay charges affect you guys who are sellers?  Particularly, how do they affect your Ebay stores?


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Post Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:12 am 
 

No change. I absorb it into my proffits.
That is actually the second price hike this year in the UK. I assume the same applies to the US.


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Post Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:38 am 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:No change. I absorb it into my proffits.
That is actually the second price hike this year in the UK. I assume the same applies to the US.


yeah the charges were a rip before and even more so now. cant wait for the day where there is a decent enough alternative!

Al



  

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Post Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:21 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:How do the new Ebay charges affect you guys who are sellers?  Particularly, how do they affect your Ebay stores?


It will mean on average $57 more a month for me to sell on Ebay in my store.  However, my solution is that I am going to cut auction listings by $80 a month, negating the loss. Ironic, isn't it, that Ebay says they are increasing the store prices to boost auction listings then? Auction listins have become an extremely inefficient way for me to do business the last year or so anyway, it's basically hoping that the week you put the item up two guys wanting the same item are going to bid against each other and drive the price up.  All of us here selling on Ebay have been doing it for years...we know the price items should sell for by now.  An auction is just a cheap way to hope you hit the lotto! At least in my case it's been, rarely have I seen an item I sold at auction lately go for what I would have priced it in my store anyway.
    When it all boils down it is just another charge.  Ebay has a evil genius way of nickel and dimeing you to death....two percent increase here and there, seems like nothing until you do the math.  If you have a budget like I do, when they increase prices you take it out of somewhere else.  


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Post Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:18 pm 
 

The store owners I would wonder about would be the guys like Wonderworld, mentioned above.

(By the way, visit their Ebay store and see the picture.  Their store jammed even more than that when last I visited it...all in some warehouse now.)

With the need to make a living, and no store front, will guys like Wonderworld move to more market-oriented pricing?


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