About buying and selling used books and stuff online. Plus my adventures and random thoughts.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Do You Not Like Money?

Know the answer the next time you sell online.

Okay, so, I’m not usually that rude. Actually, mostly, I’m very polite. But, golly goodness, the provocation was extreme.

I’m standing in a young woman’s dining room last July, buying a stack of textbooks from her. She says, “I’ve tried selling them on Amazon, but they just aren’t selling.”

“Un-huh,” I say, concentrating on my PDA and the data it shows me on her books.

“I priced them $15 less than the lowest price,” she says. That got my attention.

“Why? Do you not like money?” Rude comment, I know, but really, what is wrong with people?

How about you? Do you sell online? Do you not like money?

Textbook Seasons

For starters, we’re talking textbooks here. People do not buy textbooks in July because they want some light reading for the beach. People buy textbooks because some professor or teacher expects them to read a chapter or two in order to pass their classes. And classes start in August, September, January, and sometimes in May or June, but almost never in July.

So, if you’re on the river, why are you cutting your textbook prices in July? And why, if you want to go low, why are you $15 under everyone else? If you undercut by $1, your listing will still be first, so why undercut by $15? Heck, lots of items show mere pennies separating sellers. And one penny under the next seller will still put you in front.

Seasonal Selling

Be clear on what you are doing; understand why and when people buy online. Keep in mind that retail is seasonal. Surveys show nearly forty percent of Christmas shoppers start their shopping by the end of October. Another near forty percent start in November. Internalize those facts, learn them, know them and make decisions based on them. Is mid-October the time to start cutting prices? Really?

It’s OK to Like Money

Now, if you know me, you know I’m a Christian. Here’s what the Bible actually says: “The excessive love of money is the root of all sorts of evil.” Not “the love of money,” or the “like of money,” but the excess.

So you can stop feeling guilty for liking money, and stop trying so hard to get less for your wares.


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