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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Approvals Disc. : Slow Down ?

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cardstamp
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24 Mar 2016
04:23:02pm

Approvals
This is only an observation from someone who has sold quite a bit of material via the approval books in the past year and a half. I have noticed that in the past couple of months the amount of views and selections out of the books I put up is down. I am not complaining because overall it has been great. First of all I notice that I have not been getting any new buyers recently just repeat buyers. The new members total keeps going up but they do not seem to be buying. Even when I put a new book up - alot of my so called regulars do not seem to be interested as much. Maybe I am to blame - maybe what I have been putting up is not of any interest as what I have offered previously. Also when I used to mark down books at 50% off before I take them down - that generated a few buyers - but lately absolutely nothing - so I may stop doing that now since it takes work to change the prices on all of the pages of the books.
I suspect it is the increased volume of approval books overall recently that is the cause. I think it is the same issue that is seen on all of the commercial selling sites - too many sellers and not enough buyers. I am just curious has anyone else noticed any trends like I am experiencing ? I think starting next month I will put up fewer books - perhaps too many books can become overwhelming and expensive for buyers too ! Steve
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philb
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24 Mar 2016
04:35:47pm

Auctions
re: Slow Down ?

i do not have approvals..just auctions..but i also wonder why we do not see more "new blood" bidding. I don't think cost too much of a factor...if decent stamps are offered at a fair price..you would think there would be buyers. I am also not complaining..but i do wonder !D'Oh

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
24 Mar 2016
05:11:49pm
re: Slow Down ?

In the USA remember that it's tax time.

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philb
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25 Mar 2016
08:54:49am

Auctions
re: Slow Down ?

It is tax time...i go into shock when my accountant says we OWE...they kept telling me to save for retirement..so i did...we should have spent it !

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"If a man would be anything, he must be himself."
whitebuffalo
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25 Mar 2016
09:01:29am
re: Slow Down ?

Well that's better then what my accountant tells me when I ask about retirement, Phil. Mine just says, Rolling On The Floor Laughing



WB

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
25 Mar 2016
10:16:47pm
re: Slow Down ?

Let's think positive. Maybe everyone is busy mounting all those treasures they bought during the winter months. Happy

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
25 Mar 2016
11:59:00pm
re: Slow Down ?

tax time goes both ways...

There's those like me who pay through the nose! And there's those who get a tax refund and spend it like drunken sailors who think they just found free money!

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philb
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26 Mar 2016
08:15:50am

Auctions
re: Slow Down ?

I fondly remember the days when we got a 400 dollar refund and i got a shirt and a tie and we bought something like a clothes dryer from Sears. My accountant tries to explain to me that our retirement account did ok last year..thats why we get taxed !Surprise

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sheepshanks
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26 Mar 2016
10:09:18am
re: Slow Down ?

Philb, take the money, spend sufficient (on stamps) to bring you below the benefits line and you will get the rebate plus be eligible for poor relief and help on all your bills, plus you will not need an accountant and will further save, which in turn means more stamps.
Simple innit, that's why so few of today's younger generation are putting anything away for retirement, maybe I should invest in brewery and recreational drug shares, which appear to be where a lot of their money goes.

ps sorry Guthrum for the"INNIT"

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philb
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26 Mar 2016
11:45:06am

Auctions
re: Slow Down ?

Oh Sheepshanks i know i should spend more on stamps..its tough growing up with people who remembered world war 1 and the depression...my Grandmother handed me a dime bank when i was around 4..i got the message ! My kids do not have this burden of guilt..

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
26 Mar 2016
01:20:56pm
re: Slow Down ?

Quote:

"I have noticed that in the past couple of months the amount of views and selections out of the books I put up is down."



Steve, things are definitely a bit slower and it may be seasonal, but also we have had a huge uptick in the numbers of books issued monthly. This month for example (and it is only the 26 of March as I write), more than 250 new books have already been issued. And while a Club of 3000+ members should have no problem with this, the fact is that we have a few hundred members who are "active daily members" and no more than 35-50 people look at any one book...If it is more it is an exception!

Most books are highly attractive when just issued, but buyers (and I understand it) have an aversion to looking at books that have been picked through, unless they are specifically looking for something very particular. And given the price structure of Approval Books, if you don't get many hits or have many books to chose from, it is hard for a buyer to build up an invoice total significant enough to justify the shipping charges.

So my concern is not how many views or even how many sales each book gets, but a more fundamental question: 1. How do we make the books retain value to "late comers", so that many more people will look at them, rather than the current small numbers. And 2. How often do we bill purchases in Approvals to encourage more looks and more purchases from multiple books.


To me, the answer to #1 is to re-issue the depleted books (as New Books) more often and add substantially to the material left over. As you have noted before, this material sells..so it is NOT what is left there, but the functionality of the depleted books that is a problem..and as a buyer I can testify to the fact that trying to buy from depleted books is a pain!

And as far as #2, I think the key may be Invoicing.
I now invoice once a month, or by request, and I would encourage all sellers to explore a more relaxed invoicing cycle for small Approval Book purchases, and to wait until a critical amount has been reached before issuing a personal message and an invoice. This encourages buyers to buy a few items, and then wait for the next book, or probe through older books to build the total to a few dollars (to justify the shipping cost).
As a buyer I hate this rapid invoices for a few dollars, when a little more time, or new books would encourage me to shop some more!
Just a personal opinion, but it seem to work for me, even if some small purchases linger for a long while and do not generate repeat business..but then, maybe what I am offering next is not what is being sought.

rrr...
PS: One more comment. We are a Club, not a commercial site, so we should discard the Invoicing cycle of commercial sites that try to bill immediately and collect within a few days...just an opinion. Approvals in particular does NOT fit well the commercial model!

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
26 Mar 2016
02:33:34pm
re: Slow Down ?

Quote:

"And given the price structure of Approval Books, if you don't get many hits or have many books to chose from, it is hard for a buyer to build up an invoice total significant enough to justify the shipping charges."



This is the main reason I haven't bought things from the approvals. I go through a book and find 10 5 cent stamps I need, so it's just not worth the cost and effort to buy them.

Quote:

"To me, the answer to #1 is to re-issue the depleted books (as New Books) more often and add substantially to the material left over. As you have noted before, this material sells.. "



Agreed! When I used to sell on eBay, I had a bunch of lots that hadn't sold in 2-3 passes through the system. Then they'd have a free listing day and I'd list all my unsold lots. Guess what? A good number of them actually sold, some for good money after multiple bids. So it's often not the item, but the timing.



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cardstamp
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26 Mar 2016
04:23:25pm

Approvals
re: Slow Down ?

Just a few additional comments
1) I agree once the books have been picked thru - it is rare to get many more takers from them. I have been taking them down after 4 months but I may even consider doing it sooner. I would re-work the ones that make sense and if I had more that I could add to it. Even lowering the price at the end does not seem to generate any more interest.
2) I agree invoicing here is a little tricky. I try not to invoice right away and I wait until there is a fairly nice amount of stamps. However, I could not let it go to once a month because in some cases I would have to send a package of 500 or more stamps to someone and I do have a flat shipping charge. Then I have the opposite problem someone buys 5 or less stamps and wants the invoice right away from me. Then the question is how long do I wait - I have one person right now that selected "2" stamps in February from one book that totals 30 cents and they are from outside the US - so if I invoice them now it would be $2.30. They said they would add more but I guess nothing else interests them - I can not let it go on forever. The difference with most commercial sites its that the buyer can pay immediately if they want to - they do not have to wait for the seller to send an invoice.
3) My overall observation was that for the last few months - I have not had one new buyer that has not bought from me before.
Steve

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
26 Mar 2016
05:05:49pm
re: Slow Down ?

The key is flexibility. Clearly if someone has accumulated 100+ stamps you should consider invoicing (at $0.10 it is already $10.00, and it a lot of work to get them from the books to the shipping envelope, without making a mistake).
If you have many active new books, like Steve does, I would say every 15 days is certainly in order, or as the amount builds up, or as deemed appropriate!

On the other hand I have a few sitting orders with just a few stamps. They just sit, often forgotten! I keep waiting and nothing gets added to them, but won't invoice until the book is about to be retired...as it does not bother me to keep them where they are. I will send a Private Message to ask about their intention, from time to time. Then, if they want the stamps they need to pay. Otherwise I will issue the invoice, which I will cancel and close, to get the material off my books and as the material will either get reused in a book or "whatever"...
I do give them the option to cancel, or I will do it myself if they ignore me and the book is retired.

It would be nice for buyers to be able to retract some purchases (made in error, or too unsignificant, if they are unable to reach a "critical mass".
And for sellers to cancel unpaid orders and have the stamps re-activated in their listings...but it is just more work for Tim, so I just adapt and show flexibility.
We do need more flexibility built in the system, as we have mirrored commercial sites in philosophy, and I do think that as a Club it is a mistake...but then, there are more urgent things to take care of.

I also agree with Steve. Most of the selling is to repeat buyers, fellow I consider collectors. Which is why I wonder how many of our 3000+ members are trully active at any one time, participating in the discussion, posting questions, selling, buying, and just enjoying the hobby. And what do we need to do to get more active participation?

rrr...

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cardstamp
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26 Mar 2016
07:42:21pm

Approvals
re: Slow Down ?

By the way - I always offer folks that only have a handful of stamps that total less than the shipping charge - the option to cancel if they want. Most of the time they want the stamp(s) and do not care about the shipping charge. This even happens on BIDSTART where I sell - someone today just bought a 10 cent stamp and it was international - so they immediately paid me (no invoice required there) $2.25 for that single stamp. I guess if someone needs something they may be willing to pay for it no matter what. I know I do not do it myself !! Steve

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
26 Mar 2016
10:27:59pm
re: Slow Down ?

As there has been quite a bit of discussion in this thread regarding delayed invoicing, I need to point out something important.

Sellers are expected to invoice a buyer within 30 days from the completion of purchases. That does not mean that if a buyer ceases buying for a few days, and indicates that purchasing has not ended, that the buying period continues even if there is no purchase, or just sporadic purchases, for the next two months or longer. The invoice is expected to be sent within 30 days.

Whether you sell in the auctions or approvals, if you haven't already done so, you need to read the revised auction rules. In relation to this discussion about invoicing, especially read the rules governing disputes for non-payment. Invoicing outside of the 30 day rule may result in non-payment complaints being declined.

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Stevo45
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27 Mar 2016
01:10:34am
re: Slow Down ?

Hi Guys

Quote:

"So my concern is not how many views or even how many sales each book gets, but a more fundamental question: 1. How do we make the books retain value to "late comers", so that many more people will look at them, rather than the current small numbers."



In addition to re-listing the whole book, (Lots of work) I think it helps to list three of each stamp (if you have 'em) more often than not a buyer will buy only one - leaving stamps for the next buyer. This does mean that a book should have 200 or more stamps in it (if you have 'em.) Seems to be working for me. Winking

cheers

Stevo.

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Stevo45
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27 Mar 2016
01:15:15am
re: Slow Down ?

Quote:

"the fact is that we have a few hundred members who are "active daily members" and no more than 35-50 people look at any one book...If it is more it is an exception! "



About a third of my books get from 50 to 90 "lookers" Big Grin (14 over 50 / 38 books)

Cheers

Stevo.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
27 Mar 2016
11:44:53am
re: Slow Down ?

I agree with Steve, put extra copies of stamps in the books, if you have them.

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musicman
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APS #213005
27 Mar 2016
12:21:42pm
re: Slow Down ?

I agree 100%!!

Put those duplicates/extras in there!

Many times I've wanted a particular stamp, only to find that its already been purchased....

.....and there was only one copy!

CURSESCrying

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damichab
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27 Mar 2016
02:29:28pm
re: Slow Down ?

Maybe you just need to explain somewhere what these "books" are and how they work. I went there looking for old catalogues or digital downloads etc and found pages of stamps.

Kind of figure I can buy just one stamp, but no instructions I could find.

Also, if your repeat customers have already filled their gaps, maybe you need to put up something new.


Just my thoughts skimming over the comments here.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
27 Mar 2016
02:34:10pm
re: Slow Down ?

Click on:

HOME
APPROVALS
HELP
USER GUIDE

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StampCollector
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28 Mar 2016
06:19:38pm
re: Slow Down ?

What slow down? just put up a book after lunch on Saturday and by supper time was sold out, too bad that I'm getting money instead of stamps in trade. Tony

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
11 Apr 2016
02:48:53pm
re: Slow Down ?

This thread has been split, moving 6 posts onto a new Thread titled:"Scanning Images"

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
11 Apr 2016
02:52:34pm
re: Slow Down ?

This thread has been split, moving 22 posts onto a new Thread titled:"Approval Book Navigation - JUMP!"

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