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2013: has ecommerce served you well?

By Dan Wilson December 20, 2013 - 12:56 pm

It’s not quite the end but how has the Christmas rush 2013 been for your business?

Not all of you run seasonal businesses where a November/December rush is vital, but many of you do. Some of you have businesses that will tick right through the Yule season. Some, I hope, will be shutting down and having a well earned rest until January. Whatever you’re up to, how has it been in 2013?

It’s been a fun year and a fine one in many respects. Mobile buying has come to the fore, there are more and more ways to fulfil your orders. It remains a roller-coaster industry full of possibilities, adventure and annoyance. But isn’t that the fun of it?

As Christmas approaches, we’ll be slowing down on Tamebay. Chris and I have things to do and we know you do too. We’re already working hard on producing the 2014 Tamebay Guide and, to be honest, at this time of year the volume of news and changes we have to report starts to thin out.

We’ll sign off completely on Tuesday and run a Sunday service until the New Year. But before that, we’d love to hear your reflections on the year past. The highs and the lows.

What sort if year has 2013 been?

  • 3 years ago

    Its been a very good year with it peaking in October for us but remaining quite steady even up until today and we don’t sell products that would be gifts.

    Like mentioned above the amount of mobile orders has been huge this year.

    • Alex
      3 years ago

      January 2013 was excellent after a terrible 2012 Christmas. Then remained pretty steady up to about April, then a very slow summer, it then picked up again in Sept/Oct and has since remained fairly steady. Overall though it is still 2 poor years in a row.

      This December was better than 2012 but compared to December 2010 and 2011 is nothing to get excited about. I expect a good final few days (Boxing day on) and hope for a good January.

      Glad that others are doing well but for me this recession is still hurting!

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      I’ve noticed a downward trend in realised auction prices over the last few years and this has continued. Rising shipping costs probably have not helped here.

      BINs seem a bit slower this year also and I have noticed the ebay hit rate is not what it used to be with traffic down on previous years.

      I sense more sellers chasing smaller numbers of buyers with resulting traffic dilution. I have opted out of selling overseas because of a combination of ebay now charging fees on overseas shipping costs, the paypal currency surcharges, and the hike in Royal Mail airmail prices back in April. 25% of my sales used to be overseas.

      With overseas shipping costs now potentially making up 50% of a typical sale it is not worth it as this reduces net margin relative to total combined cost and makes the figures look poor relative to the shipping risks.

      Still happy to sell on ebay though as long as stock can be purchased at prices that maintain margins at sensible levels. I just take a bit more care with the selection of items for auction and their start prices.

      The days of 99p starts guaranteeing massive numbers bidding seem behind us.

    • Alex
      3 years ago

      Intresting post.

      You mention 99p auctions. If you are selling low value items then competition is ofton a big issue and you really have to be the cheapest to sell. In this respect I think the auction format is pointless – after all if someone wants the item, why hope to win at £2 when you can simply BIN for £2.50? If however you are selling higher value items (regardless of the amount of competitors) then in my experience auctions are usually a bargain for buyers and therefore a bad idea for the seller. I believe this is true for both low and high value items. I also think most buyers want to know they have purchased the item instead of hoping for 10 days only to find out they have been outbid and not won the item.

      I believe BIN usually achieves a much higher sale price.

      In addition, it seems that eBay is moving towards BIN only and may very soon scrap the auction format.

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      Interesting reply. The subject of auctions v BINS merits it own topic and what is the definition of a “low value” item? Both depend on the type of products sold and the level of competition as you say, as do decisions to widen the net to overseas buyers. Does the extra interest of overseas buyers generate much additional auction bidding benefit when shipping costs are relatively so much higher say £12 v £3 ?

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      if some kind American pays twice as much as we can get in the uk, were happy to send it to them for a discount on postage?

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      Well I’m not!

      Ebay mug you for shipping fees, Paypal mug you for currency surcharges, and Royal Mail mug you for signed for shipping on top of which you have further ebay and paypal fees! And then you have the extra work and ebay hoops associated with all these extra shipping options. And the extra customs paperwork. Even allowing for kind Americans, a £10 item is not suddenly going to become a £20 item if shipping costs rise from £3 to £16!

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      Further to the rich American argument I frequently get rich Americans pleading with me to open the 99p auction up to them. I do the necessary and add them to my list. 95% of these rich Americans who are desperate for the item drop out when the bidding wars start. Complete waste of time. And then I feel guilty about having to charge £££££ for shipping when the odd rich American wins by the extra 50p or whatever it takes and angry about ebay, paypal and royal mail making extraordinary profit out of the deal. Why should I bother with all this?

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      smashing we love it
      bigger slice of cake for us

    • Alex
      3 years ago

      Every seller has their own opinion of what a low value item is. In my business, a low value item is generally around £10 or £15. If shipping represents 50% of the sale value then I would consider that to be a VERY low value item. I only used the £2 and £2.50 to illustrate my point as I see many sellers offering items around this price range (and ofton with free shipping!!). Personally, I have no interest in selling or shipping anything unless I have a margin of at least £3 and I make few exceptions to this. Even only a £3 margin is hard to stomach.

      I operate purely on a BIN basis and overseas buyer represent a huge % of my turnover. In the past 5 years I have only auctioned 3 or 4 items. I think its fair to say that the novelty some sellers get from watching their auction close does not appeal to me. My experience of auctions is basically akin to giving the item away cheaply. I appreciate that other sellers with different inventory will have a better experiences with auctions but for my business auctions are a good way to lose money or work for nothing.

      It seems to me that eBay is gradually moving closer to the Amazon model. My understanding is that eBay have indicated they will be scrapping the auction format in the near future so there is probably little point in a seperate “auction vs BIN” topic but if posted I will read with interest.

  • Chris
    3 years ago

    A very good year for us, new premises and some exciting ideas to put into action in the new year.
    Looking forward to a few days off and eat my weight in food and drink :).

  • northumbrian
    3 years ago

    BAH HUMBUG!

  • 3 years ago

    Epic.

  • JD
    3 years ago

    Epic bah humbug!

  • 3 years ago

    Average up until August, which was unexpectedly good (we sell music memorabilia) then a very flat Sept/Oct followed by a really busy Nov/Dec.

    Taken in the round, slightly above last year.

  • Joe
    3 years ago

    A pretty good year, August this year was my best month ever for profit and turnover, and it’s been consistently good all year.

  • 3 years ago

    Happy Xmas Dan and Chris,
    thank you for all your posts during the year – it is the only blog/newsletter I read every day. Why? Because it cuts to the chase and gives the salient info. Sure, you have to earn a living with sponser posts but at least these are tempered and measured with ‘yes, but’ questions and comments.
    Will meet you guys at some event down the road.
    Enjoy the break,
    Bernard (Cork – Amazon & eBay seller)

  • Glenn
    3 years ago

    Business has been very good from February onwards once we moved into new office premises. The extra space gave use freedom of movement and helped separate home from work. Turnover is much higher than last year, but profit not as good as we hoped, primarily because of the additional expense of running business premises. Got caught out at Christmas and ran out of several product lines even though I thought we were sufficiently stocked. All in all, not a bad year and perhaps just as important we are hopeful for the New Year.

    All closed down now and not returning until the New Year.
    Merry Christmas to One and All
    Glenn

  • northumbrian
    3 years ago

    been a terrible year
    were destitute homeless and starving please text
    you last pennys and any organs you can manage without
    to save he starving and abused ebay seller, care of
    the christmass conscience business

    • Glenn
      3 years ago

      If I was a pound behind you I,d be a rich man.
      Pull the other one, you old fruad!

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      the other ones withered with lack of nutrition lol

  • northumbrian
    3 years ago

    on the point of this thread,
    we have done ok , its all out there it depends on how hard you work at it and a bit of luck,
    though we cant understand why gary would knowingly cut off 99.9% of available buyers by only selling domestic

  • Mac
    3 years ago

    Been a good year, January was 4 times the previous January in sales. We have had 5 months running where sales were higher than the highest month of the previous year. And December sales total is looking to be higher for the one month than our entire sales for the year 2 years ago.
    So yes, can say its been a good year.

    Figure next year to grow the business around 3 times current sales.

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