eBay Tips 2008: Stock Discipline

In any sort of retail business there is, what in many ways resembles, a gamble at the core. Can you sell the stock you buy at a price, and in sufficient quantities, without having too much leftover, and still turn a profit? You’ll become more expert at this as time goes by, but it must be said that even the most expert sellers get it wrong sometimes. The briefest stroll around the High Street sales this January is stark testament to that.

Being as efficient possible with stock levels and shifting those slow lines is a key part of your profitability. Here are some thoughts:

Keeping Stock Costs Money
For any retailer, keeping the stock itself is part of the cost of doing business. Of course, it might not be a pressing cost if you have ample cheap premises or operate from home. But even then remember that slow moving stock might be preventing you from stocking new goods. Have you got a batch of stuff that been lingering? If so, it’s efficient to try and get rid of it.

Something is Better than Nothing
You might have a price in mind for the stock that’s not moving that you need to achieve to make a profit or break even. If you’ve been failing to get that, it’s possibly worth considering whether your price is unrealistic. You can leave that stock safely stowed because you don’t want to make a loss or sell it (and make only a hopefully small loss) and then at least it’s putting something back into the business. If it’s gathering dust it’s a dead loss.

Hold a Sale
It’s that time of year and a sale of some sort is a good way of shifting stock. On eBay you have 3 options. In your Shop you can fire up Markdown Manager. There may be some requirements but at least buyers will know they’re getting a reduction. Secondly, just go for the cheap and cheerful 1-99p start price auction. Or finally, rather than sell individual items, sell batches wholesale. This cuts costs and hassle.

Every cloud…
… has a silver lining. Use your sell-off as a marketing event. Be sure to cross-promote and signpost and see if you can attract to your regular items using your cut-price items.

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