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Monday, May 30, 2016

May Comes to a Close With Strong Sales and Lots of Repeat Business

I must apologize for the length of time between posts. Until this week we only has one laptop computer and Steph needed it to list her modern material. So I was limited in my access to it during the week. I took advantage of this though to complete my identification, grading, pricing and description of all the pre-1952 Canadian material, with the exception of a large lot of 1870-1897 Small Queens that I had purchased a couple of months back. I started sorting this material toward the end of last week and made such progress and gained so many insights as to the profit potential of this material that I decided to purchase a bunch more over the weekend. So I spent last night looking at all the Small Queen lots for sale by this dealer in Nova Scotia - some 900 lots. I could tell that he had not picked them over as he had priced them all the same, but then when I looked at the scans, I could clearly see that some contained better stamps than others. So on that basis, I looked carefully through them all and picked out the better ones. I then went back and made offers on them all - over 170 lots of 20 stamps each. This morning I awoke to 170 e-mails signalling his acceptance of these offers. So in the next week or so, I will be receiving a shipment of some 3,500 Small Queens, mostly 1c and 3c values. I expect that this will yield a very strong showing of Montreal printings and should sell very well if my previous experience is anything to go by.

Sales this month slowed in dollar amount this past week, but not in volume. We have had a good number of new customers purchasing the modern post 1952 commemoratives that Steph has listed for 99c each. This is excellent because it shows that there is a market for this material and it allows us to hopefully develop some of these customers into repeat buyers. This was the first month that we began to track the repeat customers and the dollar value of sales made to them. Even though there is technically still one day left this month, I think I can share some of this month's statistics now:

  • Total sales this month: $2,870.
  • Number of items sold: 169
  • Average sale amount: $16.98
  • Sales coming from repeat customers: $1,528 - so around 53%. 
  • Number of new customers: 43 - this is higher than any other month so far.
These results are highly significant in several respects:

1. They show that sales in any given month are equally dependent on gaining new customers, as well as having more an more material listed to appeal to the existing customers. Given that there were a large amount of repeat customers, there is an excellent chance that sales will continue to either hold steady for this group as more material continues to be listed, or it will increase. We are hopeful that it will increase of course as these customers become more comfortable shopping with us. However, the business is generating a good number of new customers, and as long as we can service them well, there is no reason to believe that we will not continue to grow the base of repeat customers. 

2. Two of the new customers this month, who were also repeat buyers specifically mentioned our blog as an important source of information for the material they are interested in. While they did not actually state that they came to us as a result of the blog, it definitely appears now that the blog is beginning to yield engagement from readers and may now be a source of sales leads - 10 months after we started posting to it in earnest. Other readers have begun to comment more on the posts, ask questions and otherwise engage us, while telling us that they are tempted by the store offerings -all excellent signs. 

3. The average sale amount is a bit lower this month, as a result of the large number of low dollar value sales represented by the modern material. I expect that this will change for the better once we re-list the older issues in CDN$, as I suspect that they are currently somewhat overpriced, and as we start to list the 1927-1952 issues, which are always popular with collectors, as the price point is within the reach of most collectors. 

So all in all, an excellent month, in which we managed to accomplish many goals, particularly those related to diversifying our online presence away from E-bay and increasing the amount of engagement with our blog. 

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