Ebay's been around a while now.  In 1995 they gave us a platform to sell things on.  We started selling 1998 and have always had a love/hate relationship with Ebay.  After 18 years of selling, nothing has come up yet that has the numbers.  Ebay is still ruling over any other site that sells vintage in terms of how many people come to the site.

Today it's more love than hate.  We follow the rules, over-describe, take all returns for any reason.  Overall our percentage of transactions gone bad is minimal compared to what we sell.

I sell using Buy it Now with Best Offer, Good til cancelled as a rule with my listings.

A dealer friend asked me today about an object she had up for sale and got an offer and wondered if she should take it.

How long has it been listed?

7 day auctions don't work for me anymore.   It takes 30 to 60 days to get into the search engines. My listings are set up as GTC or Good til Cancelled at a fixed price for a minimum of 30 days.

How much did you pay for it?

Notice I didn't ask what it's worth.  It doesn't matter and worth is dependent on many factors. If I paid $10 and someone is offering $95 on something I priced at $195 after 30 days of being on, I'll take that offer.  If I got, for example, 3 offers over the first 30 days it is listed, I would hold and try to get closer to my asking price. That tells me there is interest but people don't find things as fast as they used to on eBay. If I have significantly more into it, like $50.  I don't have much of a choice but to wait. Taking an offer of $95 isn't going to leave much of a profit after fees and time spent.

Do you need the money?

Can you wait?  Do you have the time to get a higher price? If so, counter offer.  So $95 offer comes in, you're BIN (Buy it Now) price is $195.  You can take the chance and make a counter offer.  I get a counter offer accepted about 50% of the time. So I know that means I'm rolling the dice.  I may go back at $125 and see what happens.

How long since the offer came in?

If you happen to be sitting at your computer when this offer comes, you counter it immediately, the chances of bringing the sale to a successful close is greater.  If it's been 24 hours and THEN you make a counter offer, people lose interest. Your chances of closing this sale just went down.

How unique is it?

I have a piece on Ebay as we speak.  It's rare. I have it priced at $895.  It's been listed for 60 days and I've received 2 offers.  I know I'm not taking less than $750.  Why?  #1 I know what it is.  #2 It's Chinese and I sell worldwide #3 It can take a while when an item is different.  So because I know it's a rare, interesting piece, I'm ready to hold my position.   Just yesterday I got a message asking what my best price was. My instinct here, is to continue to hold. I'm going to get at least $750 or my full price.

How big is it?

How much space is it taking up? If it's taking up space on my shelves, I want it gone. Storage is one of the biggest issues in the vintage business. The best way to solve that is sell as fast as you buy.  That's easier said than done. I am more likely to take an offer if I really need that space.

Should I take this offer?

It's not the easiest question to answer. If any of the factors below are crossing your mind- STOP. Go back up and read.

  • It's worth more than that
  • Maybe I'll keep it I like it

What things are worth? Cookie jars and depression glass used to be worth a lot.  Today I wouldn't touch either of them with a 10 foot pole. Value is subjective and profit is what's important.  Unless you are writing a book, don't worry about what it's "worth".

And the "maybe I'll just keep it" part?  You photographed it and took the time to list it online, you didn't do that so you could keep it. What I'm touching on here is the emotional attachment piece many seem to have in our business.

REPEAT AFTER ME- If I buy more than I sell,I will go under. So, SELL SELL SELL!

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Melissa

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Should I take this offer?