Selling Shoes for Commission on Ebay

I saw a CL ad asking for a lister to sell shoes on Ebay or other sites. They wanted to do a 50% commission on the sale price, with the lister eating the fees. I wrote this response.

As a non-listing seller, you should tell people what shoes you have. Then, we could look at the recent sale prices to determine if it’s worth it.

I sell on ebay, and your commission scheme doesn’t work out.

A commission of 50% of profit works, and that’s what people seem to do. So the fees are taken out first.

Ebay + Paypal fees are 15%.  So if the shoes sell for $20, and the shipping is $10, the total is $30.

The fees will be $5.50. That leaves 14.50.

With your formula, you’d get $10, and the lister gets $4.50.

With a 50/50 profit scheme, both parties get $7.25.

It’s basically a 30/70 split, which is what a lot of consignment shops do.

I look to get a 5x sale price: buy for 5, sell for 25, with a minimum sale price of around 25. Net profit is around $15, tripling my investment, if everything works out OK. My main reference point is the online sales price of a new shoe — basically, it must cost more than $75… but even that is risky.  $130 shoes are safe to buy. More experienced sellers look only for shoes that bring in more money.

Most resellers would just rather buy the shoes outright.  For shoes selling at the $10 price, most resellers won’t touch them. For shoes selling at $30, I think ebayers would pay up around $6 each if they are popular sellers.

The problem with commissions is that, if the item doesn’t sell, all the labor costs are sunk, and nobody makes money at all. So the lister eats these costs. It’s easier to just work that risk into the purchase price.

Due to the way Ebay favors frequent sellers in a sales category, it’s going to be the experienced sellers with ongoing shoe sales who will be willing to pay up for the shoes. They can list it, and sell it in a few weeks.

Novices or occasional sellers may take many months to sell the shoes, and may not pay as much.

Not in the email: I think experienced sellers would be willing to sell on commission for high value items that move fast, and be willing to do it on a small commission.