The Numbers: April 24-30, 2022

The Numbers: April 24-30, 2022

Happy 1st shoppiversary. A small victory is underselling it, it’s been amazing to be a part of your journey from buying a new building to creating a thriving business in your small town. Hoping for continued success for Broad Porch in the future. And keep the new merch coming, please!

This past week was my busiest in at least a month. One factor is that I haven’t skipped a day of listing since February, and of course there is always a randomness factor to when and why things sell.

But I also saw a huge increase in sales after I started a Promoted Listings Standard campaign on Thursday. I had never used Promoted Listings before, and all of the options were overwhelming, so I went with a standard 5% ad rate on every listing in my store.

I wasn’t sure how it would work, but there was an immediate impact. At least 8 items sold every day since. I only started the campaign because I received a promotional offer for 75% off Promoted Listings fees through May 5th. Now I wish I had started the campaign a few weeks ago. But at least I know. Maybe it’s a one-time fluke, or maybe promoted listings are worth trying every so often, even without a promo.

4/24/2022 – 4/30/2022

Total items in store: 2084 (down from 2174)

Items sold: 55 (28 via best offer, 14 via seller initiated offer)

Gross sales: $2917.89 (up 36% from one year ago)

Net sales: $2019.38 (up 28% from one year ago)

Quantity sold: 55 (up 5% from one year ago)

Average sales price: $53.05 (up 29% from one year ago)

Lowest price sold (net): $12.84 — Shaheen Holloway Press Pass autograph

Shaheen Holloway probably would have had a long and prosperous professional career either in the NBA or one of the many other professional leagues in Europe or Asia if it wasn’t for suffering repeated injuries. But there can always be silver linings in life if you look for them. The injuries led Holloway to the path of coaching college ball, and after years working his way up the ladder to head coaching, this past March he led the unheralded Saint Peter’s Peacocks on a magical run through the NCAA tournament, defeating Kentucky, Murray State and Purdue before finally losing to North Carolina.

I actually attended the game when the Peacocks lost to UNC. The game happened to be in Philadelphia and I live just outside the city. I hadn’t been to a basketball game in years and now I’m good for at least another 5 years, maybe 10. Maybe I’d like going to another if the game was more exciting, but UNC won that game from beginning to end. But the entire experience was still special. So many people cheering for the underdog and random bonding moments with strangers.

As Saint Peter’s miracle run was happening, I had the thought to look up Shaheen Holloway autographs on eBay. None of the players had cards, but I figured he might have a few and the team really seemed to love him as their coach. Most of his cards were $5 each or less since he had never made the pros and he only had autographs in a few obscure college sets. There are so many new sets and new designs and new players that the market for cards from 20 years ago is pretty small, unless it’s an obsessive collector or cards of a legendary player like Tom Brady. Or something random like this occurs.

After Saint Peter’s first win over Kentucky, I figured it couldn’t hurt to buy a few Shaheen Holloway autographs just to see what would happen. After their win over Murray State, I started expanding beyond eBay into every card site I could think of. After their third win over Purdue, which made Saint Peter’s run the longest in history by such a small school, I realized that this had been a nice victory for both the underdog team and my business. I wouldn’t have been this aggressive with my purchases even a year ago. I might have bought one or two of his autographs and profited $20 total. But I followed my hunch all the way through and it is still paying off.

Holloway picked up a new job not long after the tournament at the same school where he played his college ball, Seton Hall. It will be interesting to see how his team does next year and what the fan reaction is like. Maybe he will end up an NBA coach in the future and get his first NBA cards that way.

Until then, and probably for at least the next year or two, I will sell 1 or 2 of his autographs for $10 to $20 each every few weeks. It’s not quite ICP hats or old markers, but it’s a good feeling every time I see one of his cards has sold.

Highest price sold (net): $126.09 — Aidan Hutchinson 2018 Leaf autograph #4/10

This was a really interesting sale for a few different reasons.

A big factor in card sales is always the calendar. There are a few times each year where something exciting is happening in every sport, and late April/early May is one of those times. Baseball season has just started and speculators always buy up the players who get off to a fast start. Basketball and hockey seasons are entering their playoffs. And this past weekend was the NFL football draft.

Aidan Hutchinson was the #2 overall draft pick from the University of Michigan and went to his hometown team the Detroit Lions. No surprise that my buyer was located in Michigan, and the $150 sale price mostly reflects the modern card world. Boxes of cards contain as few as 5 or 6 cards and regularly command prices of $500 and up. There is a whole culture of online breaking — companies buy dozens of boxes of the newest hot set, then sell off the contents by team. You buy your team (better teams go for higher prices) and get all the cards from the boxes in the break. Sometimes you spend $20 on your break and get an amazing unique autograph of the hot rookie. More often, you get a boring unautographed card of the third-string kicker. But you can try again with the new set next week…and the week after that…and the week after that. That’s the hobby for tens of thousands of card buyers and sellers, and in that world it makes sense that a nice colorful autograph of the new #2 draft pick would sell for $150. You could even say that the buyer got a good deal, considering that once Hutchinson’s new Lions autographs come out, any that are numbered xx/10 or less will probably cost more than $150.

This was one of my biggest profits by percentage. I bought this Aidan Hutchinson card two years ago at auction for a mere $2. $2 to $150. A 7400% increase!

I did not buy the card then because I had any amazing foresight into Aidan Hutchinson as a player. That would be a smart way to make money buying and selling cards and I’m sure there are many in the card world who have an incredible knowledge of individual players and their skills and who will be great and who won’t. I know a little bit of that, but mostly I know what collectors look for in terms of the quality of sets and types of cards.

I bought this card because of the autograph and low serial number, and because the seller was one of many who list hundreds of auctions every week and offer a combined shipping term. Buying one card might cost $4 shipping, but 40 cards is only $10 shipping. Buy and sell in enough bulk and there’s a business in a nutshell. Or my business at least.

I buy dozens of cards for $5 or less. I would be thrilled to sell almost any of them for $20. The vast majority of them don’t even make it to my to-be-listed pile. That was what happened with this $150 Aidan Hutchinson card. I found it a few weeks ago in a box of low value cards. After all this time, I didn’t even remember buying it. In this case, that worked out nicely for me. If I had been paying closer attention, I probably would have sold this card six months ago for $10. My strategy for buying and organizing inventory is much more deliberate now. But it was fun to see my old disorganized ways pay off.

Sometimes with selling on eBay, your sales are a result of figuring out a strategy and seeing it through. Keep listing and good things happen. Or maybe you’ll lose track of some inventory and find it again down the road. I wouldn’t recommend it, but sometimes you’ll get lucky.

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