2Hearts Jewelry: Notes from a Newbie - Ding! You Have a Sale!
inNovember 5, 2010 - 11:55am
Recently, while shopping my IPhone dinged that I had a message. Imagine my delight when it was a notice from Ruby Plaza that I had a sale. My very first sale – Yea! Check out the photo of my gorgeous cranberry foil necklace, now mine no more. I want to share that experience, but I also am hoping through this blog to encourage successful store owners to share their wisdom with us. I invite vets to reply to the questions that emerge. For example, I appreciate the video series that Linda Caricofe produced, which are concise and provide very practical tips, many of which I have already incorporated. To see them, go to YouTube and type her name into the search engine.
Back to that memorable first sale - I zoomed home to check it out on my computer; listened to the Ruby Plaza video about how to complete the transaction, and pushed the button to send the invoice to the customer. One of my first reactions was appreciation at how well set up Ruby Plaza is – all the information was right there and all I had to do was change or confirm it. Ruby Plaza’s “manage transaction” system made the whole process easy to complete.
My other reaction has to do with pricing insecurities. Since it has taken 34 days to make my first sale, I have questioned myself constantly about competitive pricing. In this case, I listed this piece the previous night, sold it this morning, and the buyer is an antique shop owner. In my last blog, I bragged about buying treasures from other antique shop owners who didn’t know what they had, but now it looks like the shoe is on the other foot. But, hey, I am trying to price my merchandise fairly, and it someone else gets a good deal and I make a profit, then that’s a “win-win,” right??
Another true confession: I am having trouble keeping accurate records of all I purchase, and I can’t actually find the record of what I paid for this item. First of all, it can be extremely difficult to distinguish one “faux pearl pin” from another. I am trying to photograph whatever I buy right away so that I can figure out what I have bought, much less what I sell. When things are bought at estate sales, thrift shops, Ebay lots and sometimes paid for with cash and without receipts, I have not yet mastered a system for keeping accurate records. The net result is that I am not sure if I made money or not on this sale. My #2 professional goal is to fix that – anyone have a record keeping system that you recommend? (Wondering what my #1 professional goal is? You guessed it - to have more sales to keep track of!)
I made a mistake that even a newbie should know better. I attached a note to the invoice saying that I would ship it the next day. Of course, you never ship an item before payment clears. Thankfully, the buyer paid promptly. Next was off to the post office to ship, insure, and get that all important delivery confirmation. I will ship nothing without that! As a buyer, I did not receive an item purchased on line recently and I am without recourse, as the seller says they sent it.
Just two days previous to this sale, I had decided to pay for upping my listing rank order. Did that have something to do with an order coming through? I don’t know, as this purchase was for an item that was listed as “New Today.” Perhaps the buyer would have seen it anyway… or not. I have only used paid click ranking for a couple weeks now, and have seen the page views skyrocket and the clicks increase substantially. There are no buyers without lookers.
Now that I have experienced the thrill of that first sale, I am still waiting for that elusive next one. Meanwhile, I am very grateful that Ruby Plaza has extended the $9.00/month fee, as it will go a long way in terms of giving Plaza shop owners time to get our businesses established.
Vets, let’s hear from you. What was your experience getting established – to what extent did sales increase as the months go on? What should we expect as “normal?” And, with Christmas season approaching, what steps do you recommend to get our inventory ready to take advantage of the Holiday Buying Window? I want more “ding, you have a sale” messages on my IPhone!!
By D’Anne Brownell, 2Hearts Vintage Jewelry