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The good side of auction sites

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  • Randy Brown
    Hi everybody, I have a very different viewpoint on auction (eBay) sales. I have owned two hobby shops (at different times) in the past. One in Boise, Idaho and
    Message 1 of 41 , Feb 1, 2008
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      Hi everybody,
      I have a very different viewpoint on auction (eBay) sales.

      I have owned two hobby shops (at different times) in the past. One in
      Boise, Idaho and later one in Prescott, Arizona.

      When I had the Boise store in the mid '80's, I didn't have
      competition from the Internet, but I still had customers telling
      other customers (which I agree is rude) about the great prices from
      Standard Hobbies. Remember them? 4-6 page ads in Model Railroader?
      They often sold items for less than what I paid for them
      Well, I went under and Boise lost a LHS.

      The Prescott store was much the same.

      I really admire those that still maintain their "brick and mortar"
      shops. It is a rough business, with very little profit after expenses
      (rent, maintenance, utilities, advertising, theft, etc).

      I am now manufacturing Z and N scale products.
      I had a web site for a while, but it generated little business at
      that time.
      I sold to dealers through a wholesaler, but I had to sell my products
      to them at 55% below my retail price.

      I am again selling to a few select dealers directly and hope to build
      this market.

      Ebay and PayPal, actually, have been very good for me.
      With my eBay store, I get massive exposure and with PayPal I can
      easily sell to anyone in the world and be paid quickly no mater what
      type of currency they use.

      The new pricing will mean that I will have to give up 20% of my
      retail price to fees (if PayPal is used).
      This leaves me much more profit overall compared to the "brick and
      mortar" or wholesale routes.

      I could have my own web site again, but I rather spend my time
      developing new product than maintaining a web site.

      I truly feel that if it weren't for eBay/PayPal, I would not be in
      business today.

      BTW If you know that items are available from Loren or Anthony or
      others on this list, then buy from them directly (not through eBay)
      so they don't have to pay the fees. They can then invest in more Z
      stock in the future.

      As far as my Z Scale modeling, I have decided to change from SF to
      D&RGW (I want to run my models through canyons with pine trees).
      I actually made this decision a month ago and magically MTL now has
      GP9s in D&RGW. There is a Z Scale god.

      I have placed my SF GP-35 on eBay in case anyone is interested.

      Okay, I have my shields up, ready for the onslaught. ;>)

      Thanks for listening,

      Randy Brown
      Check out my E-Bay Store at:
      http://stores.ebay.com/Randy-Brown
    • ztrack@aol.com
      Loren, Credit cards are a double edged sword. They are easy to use and make our lives easier. I live by my credit cards since it is just plain simple to use
      Message 41 of 41 , Feb 4, 2008
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        Loren,

        Credit cards are a double edged sword. They are easy to use and make our
        lives easier. I live by my credit cards since it is just plain simple to use and
        easily rectified. But yes, we retailers must take this into account when we
        sell merchandise. I would NEVER even consider not taking credit cards. So the
        fees we pay are just part of business and our overhead.

        But now we have come full circle. We bring it back to PayPal and what started
        this long string of posts on eBay, pricing, shipping, etc. PayPal charges
        much higher fees to retailers for the 'privilege' of using their service. For
        small retailers and consumers, this is convenient. But for a company like Ztrack,
        we have going through great pains to be an authorized Visa and Mastercard
        merchant. Our fees are approximately 50% less than if we used Paypal. What this
        means is that we can keep costs down and is the sole reason we do not accept
        Paypal.

        So, if anyone is even still reading these threads, I hope we all have learned
        from them. I know I have come through this with some thoughts on improving
        our websites to make some of these charges more clear. I hope anyone reading
        this has more of an insight what retailers faces when trying to offer products at
        the best price. Many retailers cannot get it right which is why we see so
        many failures today in the hobby market. It is sad, and a trend I fear that will
        not end.

        Again, it is what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. I ask all of you to
        support our Z scale retailers. They are the backbone of this hobby. Also, please
        remember to tip your waitress...

        Rob

        Ztrack Magazine Ltd.
        6142 Northcliff Blvd.
        Dublin, OH 43016
        phone/fax: (614) 764-1703
        www.ztrack.com
        www.ztrackcenter.com



        **************
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