Are you superstitious?
I am, just a tiny bit... I won't walk under a ladder, I worry when a black cat crosses my path, I cry when I break a mirror and I won't fly on the 13th whether it's a Friday or not! Oh, and I always salute a single Magpie. Actually that makes me quite superstitious doesn't it - or completely paranoid - I'll leave you to decide!
But what has that got to do with your deciding what to sell on eBay?
Why superstitions could help you to work out what to sell on eBay
In fact more than 60 million people claim to be affected by a fear of Friday 13th - and there is even an actual name for these people; 'paraskevidekatriaphobics' (don't even try to pronounce that one).
They won't go to work, drive their cars or even get out of bed (despite the fact that they could just as easily have an accident or encounter bad luck whilst at home).
So, I was thinking, does this mean that all these people are simply sitting at home and doing absolutely nothing OR are they firing up their computers and doing a spot of online shopping (or is that too risky - maybe the keyboard would electrocute them or they might trip over the computer wires!)
Seriously though (and tongue now firmly out of cheek) there are peaks and troughs throughout the year for online sales.
Friday 13th may not be a 'peak' or a 'trough' but there are plenty of other times when you'll see definite rises and falls in what sells best on eBay.
It doesn't matter what you are selling, some months are always going to be traditionally slow while other months will see the profits rolling in steadily with no problem.
What you need to remember is that it's the same for every online seller - it's not just you.
The key is to make the most of your busy times but also to make the most of your quiet times too rather than panic when sales drop off slightly. Use the time to your advantage.
To be honest, whenever you start selling online, you will always need to complete one full year in order to get an accurate idea of how things will work out for you long term.
It will depend on the product you sell, how good your marketing is and how hard you work! But by the end of 12 months you'll be able to see your own peaks and troughs which will allow you to predict the next 12 months and so on.
Is there one foolproof product you can sell to avoid up and down sales?
Well, let's look at some examples:
Imagine you are selling paddling pools. You will notice a huge peak in the spring and summer months and then your sales are likely to drop off completely in the winter - pretty obvious right?
But what if you are selling a product that is generally purchased all year round? Will you still get peaks and troughs then?
Baby goods for example are year round online sellers. Women are always going to be having babies and so the demand for baby products will always be there. But there will still be times when sales are slow and there will be times when sales are flying.
I've sold baby products myself and know from experience that these products are definitely year round sellers but I always notice a dip in February and again in July - this happens year after year.
Now the July dip I can put down to holidays - if people are away they are not online buying stuff - or if the weather is warm everyone is out enjoying their barbecues rather than sat inside surfing, but the February dip has always baffled me...
Eventually I came to the conclusion that the first credit card bill has come in after Christmas and people are generally short of cash, but I've no idea whether this is the true reason or just something I've convinced myself of!
So, there really is no single product that will sell in the same amount month after month after month. And that's why you should always stock multiple products. When one has a lull, another will be on the up.
The key is to mark down on a calendar or in a diary exactly when your own personal busy times and quiet times are. When you have done this you'll be able to work out a much better plan of action for how you're actually going to run your online business.
You'll know when the quiet times are coming and so you can plan to use that time to evaluate and work on improving your sales and marketing.
Don't forget though that the benefit of selling online is that your products are available 24/7 so even during slow times your products will still be out there and available to purchase easily.
The important thing is to not focus on the bad side of things - in this case the fact that your sales are down during a certain period.
I know that this is the natural thing to do because a lull in sales can be worrying, especially if you are reliant on the income to pay your bills and so on, but you should actually spend the time focusing on positive things like how well your business is doing overall and how to sell more! Be pro-active and it will bring benefits.
In the quiet times, review your goals, tweak your marketing and you may well experience a surge in sales when you get busy again... when this happens you will be grateful for the time you spent evaluating your business, as it will be bringing you better results!
by Amanda O'Brien
Online Trading Expert
Amanda O’Brien is an extremely successful online trader specialising in eBay, Amazon Marketplace and niche sales websites. You can sign up for her free weekly eletter here:
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