Will Your Items Ever Sell? Should You Keep Relisting?
How many times have you relisted the same item when it has not sold? How long have some of the items been sitting on your website or in your store? Just that something hasn’t sold doesn’t mean that it never will.
When do you know if an item is never going to sell? The reality is you have no way of knowing if and when something will sell, or if it ever will. That is one of the unknowns with making and selling original designs. You can put something online and have it sell right away and then relist it and not get another sale. If it has sold once it stands a chance of selling again but you may have to relist it many times. You do not necessarily have to keep relisting something in order to sell it though.
Keep in mind people can find your items multiple ways – People are not only able to find you by looking through marketplaces. They can do specific searches and find you through search engines if you are using proper titles and keywords. If you sell on your own website this may be the only way people find you. This means that as long as you still have an item on your website or store, people can find it and potentially buy it if they are doing searches.
You never know when someone will happen to come across your item in a search and have to have it. I have literally had items go relatively unnoticed for over a year and then they start selling all of a sudden. Sometimes traffic even comes from people browsing through photos on Google Images if you use descriptive names for your files.
Remember why you relist items – Are you relisting items because you think those specific items will sell or are you doing it so more people will see your store? Consider your strategy. If you list and relist very popular items they can draw attention and you stand a good chance of people making their way into your store and hopefully finding something they would like to purchase. Items that have gone unsold for months may not attract many views when you pay to relist them so they offer much less overall benefit.
Focus on your more popular items - Obviously when you make a new item you do not really know how popular it will be. Before you make any sales you can gauge interest of certain items by their view count. This is a lot easier to do if you sell on marketplaces because you can get instant traffic. You can at least determine which ones people would rather take a look at. By focusing your marketing efforts on those pieces and displaying them more prominently you can use them to drive more people to your site and other items.
If you transition from a marketplace to your own website you can use these popular items as thumbnails on your home page and at the tops of each category. Display them more prominently than your other items. You have to capture someone’s interest initially to keep them on your site and increase the chance of them taking a look at more of your items.
Things have changed – Years ago you could put something handmade on Ebay and actually expect to get bids the first day. In a period of 7 days, 10 if you payed a little extra, you could receive 900+ views. Often the bidding would get out of control and you could get more for it than you expected. Have you had that experience recently? Probably not.
I am not completely sure why it used to be that way. Obviously a lot of buyers were around on that particular marketplace but what drove them to make purchases right away? It could have been the novelty of being able to buy handmade items online. People are not any different today and maybe the reason items do not sell as instantly as they used to is due to the sheer number of items on the market right now. What Ebay did prove is if you have enough of the right people looking at your items and they feel like they need to buy it now or lose it forever, they will go ahead and get it. I think that is still true, but probably more-so for vintage or collectable items that are truly one time, one of a kind offers.
There is no urgency – Some sellers do offer things for a limited amount of time and that tactic can push people to go ahead and make a purchase. That mainly works with sales, special offers, and auctions though. If you have an online store or offer custom orders, people know there is no rush to buy your items. If the item they liked has already sold they may just come back later and get you to remake it as a custom order.
People purchase on their schedule – More than likely you are not selling something that people actually Need, and there is nothing wrong with that. Most of what we buy are things we Want. When it comes to buying something that you do not necessarily have to have there is no rush to buy. Having a site where people can bookmark certain items and come back to them later is important. You want to make sure people can find your items again when they are ready to make a purchase.
In order to do that the item will need to be at the same address. People will not be able to bookmark an item that is up for auction for example. When an auction closes the link is gone.
People browse and compare – The more saturated your market, the longer it can take to make a sale. Regardless of how good your items are compared to others out there, people will be looking at all their options. This can take time and once they have seen everything else hopefully they will come back to you and make a purchase.
Consider the size of your market - It is definitely a good sign when certain items receive a lot of views. The larger the market for a specific item, the more views you can expect it to receive. You may have some items like this and others that do not seem as popular. The market may simply be smaller for the less popular items and they may not appeal to a broad audience. If you can target their specific market they can definitely sell. Use very detailed keywords in the title so someone looking for something very specific can find them.
Differences between marketplaces and your personal site - On a marketplace you may be relisting something numerous times and that particular item may have never sold. On your personal website you are not continuously paying for that item to be on your site. It does not cost you anything to keep popular and unpopular items listed. Over time both items can show up in organic search and you may start getting orders for something that never seemed popular.
Marketplaces are great for getting instant feedback on your items. You can quickly see what people like and focus on creating more of those type items. New items only marketed through your personal site can take a while to get any views so you do not have as much feedback.
When you sell on your own website the marketing is up to you. Unless you get a lot of traffic you cannot expect new items to sell very quickly. You put things on your site with the belief that they will eventually sell and then you just start working on the next piece. When certain items eventually start selling you can always go back and expand that particular series.
Why you should keep all your items online – Unpopular items or items that seem to never sell can still be inspiration for custom orders. They may have some unique element that catches someone’s eye. I have had cases where a piece had a unique design but was unpopular due to the proportions. While the original piece did not sell, simply having it on my site has brought in numerous custom orders for wider and shorter variations.
Have you ever given up on selling an item only to wake up one day and find that is sold?