Scavenger Life Episode 518: Bad Mood Business Partner

6/6/21 – 6/12/21

Total items in store: 2601

Items sold: 70

Gross sales: $2863.53 (up 55.4% from one year ago)

Net sales: $2029.87 (up 60.9% from one year ago)

Highest price sold (net): $295.07 — autograph rookie card of Donovan Mitchell, who is the star player on the Utah Jazz (one of the teams in the NBA playoffs which are happening right now)

Lowest price sold (net): $8.56 — college jersey card of excellent quarterback and not-so-excellent person Michael Vick

Loved the podcast this week. Already looking forward to hearing tales of your July travels! It sounds like your trip will be restorative for both of you. It’s so important to take that time away, after all, scavenging gives us the opportunity to do so when so many others (certainly my whole family) don’t get that same luxury.

My sales numbers over the last 31 days are up almost 20% from last month which is no surprise at all. I’m well aware how many packages are going out every day! I remember thinking last year that there was no way my sales were ever going to be higher than they were at that time. But I was obviously wrong.

Make no mistake, it’s not because sports cards are any ‘hotter’ than they were 3 or 6 or 12 months ago. If anything, the market is starting to cool down somewhat, especially among the flippers who may have gotten introduced to cards during the ‘bubble’ and are starting to recognize that selling them is not as easy as some other things. You need that knowledge base of what’s valuable and what’s not, and that takes trial and error. It certainly has for me.

I have been very disciplined over the last few weeks about spending a good chunk of time on listing almost every day. Some days it has been listing cards or autographed items that I paid $1 to $5 for and would take a $10 or $15 offer without a second thought. Other days it’s more expensive items and most days it’s a mix. That’s really all it has taken to increase my sales. I am fortunate to have listened to this podcast for so long, since that allowed me to recognize over the last year that I could keep buying and growing this inventory and it would pay off down the road. My guess is that payoff is happening somewhat for me now, though a summer slowdown wouldn’t surprise me at all.

I had 2300 listings in my store at the beginning of May and I’m at 2600 tonight even though I sell 40+ items a week. This is the most inventory growth I’ve had over a six week period. I’m not sure I can list at this same level over the next six weeks, but I’ve streamlined a lot of my listing processes and have all that unlisted inventory,  So who knows? If it’s a rainy summer or sales slow down a bit, maybe I can hit 2900 or even the big 3000 by the end of July.

A few tips, maybe: I took extra care in the last week to add eBay’s required item specifics to all of my new listings, as well as revising most of my old listings to include them. I’ve also run a few fairly sizable markdown sales (25% to 30%) on hundreds of older inventory items over the last few weeks. I suspect all of these factors helped my sales. This is all anecdotal evidence about one particular niche, so take from it what you will.

The main lesson, as always, is probably the most simple one from the scavenger manifesto: if your items are priced well and interested buyers can find them in search, they will sell. Some will take a day or less and others will take a year or more, so no point in getting hung up on any one sale or non-sale. Just keep listing!

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