Selling things

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Selling basics

Perhaps you own something now that you don’t want anymore and you think it’d be better off with another collector.

Before doing anything, consult your post office or courier service to find out their pricing models, and registration/insurance options. Make sure you know if dimensional/volumetric weight applies to your packages beforehand. The packing material itself is usually not free, but you can do some ghetto substituting of plastic wrap and crumpled/shredded paper in the place of bubble wrap and packing peanuts, respectively. If you’re broke, shred old newspapers and free padded envelopes from USPS for padding and reuse packing material that came to you from past orders. Make sure you pack the box/envelope securely; if it can’t survive being tossed a few feet or crushed under another box, it’s NOT ready to be shipped.

In the US, USPS generally has the cheapest rates and even cheaper if you use eBay or PayPal to pay for and print the shipping label. A First-class package starts at $1.93 online, including free tracking. Media Mail becomes cheaper than First-class starting at 11oz, but it is only for printed matter. Consider using Priority Flat Rate boxes (which you can order for free from USPS/eBay or pick up at the post office) if the item you’re shipping doesn’t qualify for Media Mail and is heavier than 2 lbs.

If you want to sell a lot, consider investing in a small digital kitchen/post scale ($10-25). They are accurate to 0.1oz/1g and generally can handle up to 6lbs. It will take the shipping guesswork out of the process and speed up your ability to pack and affix shipping labels at home. With this method, once the package is ready, you can simply hand it off to the mailman when he/she drops by or drop the package off at your local USPS office without waiting in line. Even better: if at least one of your packages is Priority, Express, or International, you can schedule for USPS to come to your house and pick up packages, saving you the trip’s gas.

Selling on the buyfag threads

Selling on buyfag threads can be much simpler and quicker than to random people on ebay/mfc/craigslist/etc, however it's a lot harder to bullshit people. There are a few guidelines to follow:

  • When posting that you are selling items, always post a contact email/your mfc account so that people can contact you without filling the thread with garbage.
  • Always put prices. Do not be the idiot that asks people to offer, you will get very low offers and people will laugh at you when you complain. When setting your prices, don't even try to get above market value. People will much prefer to buy from Japan than from some random Anon, given that Japanese are autistic about the condition of a figure and they have no idea what you are like.
  • Say where you are shipping from and where you are willing to ship. These threads are viewed from many countries, don't expect everyone else to be from your country. For Americans, it's recommended to say what state you are from.
  • Don't spam the thread saying that you're selling things. Most people read every post in the thread, they will see your post and contact you if they are interested. If you post too often then people will get annoyed and start calling you out on it.

Capitalism, HO!

Capital.png
                                                                        Figure 6: What the picture says.

For people who are a little more serious about selling & trying to make a few bucks off the art: In a nutshell, buy low, sell high. Even AmiAmi is too pricy for turning a profit unless it’s some rare, in-demand item.

  • “But I should preorder this super-popular figure! Preorders will be sold out everywhere! Even if I don’t want it anymore later, I’m sure I can scalp it!”

Very rarely will a figure appreciate in value post-release. Whatever you’re looking at is very unlikely to increase dramatically in value down the road, because the initial hype will have worn off, the market will be saturated, and the popularity will fall once the anime/game had its run.

As for scalping, it will be difficult in most cases unless you really know what you’re doing (in which case, you should be contributing to this section of the guide). For example:

  • You purchase a figure for 6000 yen on AmiAmi. You want to be the fastest to offer it for sale, so you pick EMS shipping, 2000 yen.
  • You want to scalp it for double, so you price it at $120 for sale, plus shipping (let’s say $10 domestic).
  • When the figure sells, PayPal takes a 2.9% + $0.30 fee if domestic. If it was through eBay, eBay takes a 10% fee out of both selling price and shipping.
  • You need some packing materials, tape, and a box. $5. You spend time securely packing up everything and gas getting to the post office.
  • In the end: $120 (selling price) + $10 (shipping) - 6000 yen (purchase price) - 2000 yen (shipping) - $4 (PayPal fee) - $13 (eBay fee) - $5 (packing materials) - $10 (shipping) = $18 (profit)

While you might be able to claim, “I sold it for double I bought it for,” you’ve only pocketed $18 in reality, not an extra 6000 yen. $18 is about an hour or two’s pay for young people in first-world countries. Even if you managed to sell directly and avoid the eBay fee, it still only netted you $31 total. Perhaps you could’ve picked SAL shipping at the beginning and saved yourself $5-$10 on shipping, but the delay in your ability to offer it for sale meant that you would’ve missed the impulsive wave of buyers and met a wall of saturated market.

  • Was it worth the time, effort, or waiting game? Or the risk that you only could’ve “scalped” the item for $100, not $120 (= $0 profit, complete break-even)? Think of the buyer who paid $130 as well. While there are idiots out there who can and will shell out that much, they easily could’ve picked the $110 option from a competing seller and you couldn’t have sold until you’ve undercut prices.

More obvious stuff for eBay:

  • You can get more for stuff from popular series.
  • You can get more for nostalgia series.
  • Never undersell yourself.
  • Sometimes it takes a few weeks or months for someone to bite; it’s up to you to decide whether the wait is worth the profit.
  • Be the cheapest seller to ensure someone sorting by “lowest price first” will get you first.
  • It’s not hard to be cheapest seller because 90% of legit sellers are charging astronomical prices.
  • Check past Sold Sales to see how much people have spent on the same thing; if it has sold a few times for X price, there is likely another sucker who will blow also that much (or close to it).
  • If no one has ever sold the item before and you know it’s some obscure title, it’s probably not worth the time and effort to buy it to resell in the first place.
  • Likewise, if the item has constantly sold for relatively low (or too low for a good profit margin), consider only selling to free up room, not to turn a profit.
  • Mind the fees, keep a spreadsheet, track your earnings and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
  • If you can, advertise on social sites (Facebook, Tumblr) to get impulsive young people to open their wallets; it moves smaller items like keychains and trading figures faster. On the other hand, you are dealing with fujoshit cancer itself.

If you want to get more serious, consult professionals and get a degree. As real life examples have shown, running a purely anime-import business in 3D is not profitable.

Advertising on MFC, /a/’s buyfag threads or /toy/’s BST threads are also options. However, keep in mind that these people most likely know more about the true value of goods and less likely to fall for overpriced shit. Unless you’re selling someone’s Holy Grail.

I thought not.