Welcome to episode 3 of eCommerce Story Time with Brandon Dupsky. To be honest, I’m having fun putting these together and hope you enjoy hearing them. My goal is to highlight key events along my eCommerce selling career that either entertain or educate you on the lessons learned from these events. It’s also fun for me to look back at archived data on old hard drives looking at photos and documents I’ve saved over the years remembering some of the crazy stupid things I tried or the bizarre colors and animation gifs used on my websites.
In this episode I share how I started tracking my profitability with pen and paper in the very early days by learning the “steps” of a typical transaction and tracking each transaction along the progression of these steps from listing to selling to collecting the money to shipping and the final step on eBay offering and receiving feedback.
Below are 3 of the documents I pulled from my archives. I remember having a file cabinet filled with these papers in different folders for the different stages of a sale. I remember having my date stamper and ink pad next to my computer and each day date stamping the steps as they happened. I also remember entering each transaction into QuickBooks or I believe it was Quicken back then so I could track each cost to the penny. I also remember how fun it was getting the mail everyday as it was filled with checks and money orders. I enjoyed filling out bank deposit slips that needed more than 1 page because there were so many checks to fit on one page.
One key metric to TRACK AND KNOW BY HEART is your actual eCommerce selling costs and eCommerce profits. Even in 1998 I tracked how much to list the item and how much is the final selling fees. I tracked the cost to ship and the cost for shipping insurance on each transaction. At this time there was no Paypal or even x.com and so there were no payment processing fees but that’s something you should be tracking today.
I stared this process of tracking my profitability on a sale by sale level in 1998 and I STILL TRACK MY PROFITS AT THIS LEVEL EVERY DAY ON EVERY SALE TODAY! Even tracked to this degree when I was processing 1,000’s of orders per day. Can you imagine all the moving parts that pile up day after day? What orders have received payment, which payments have cleared, what orders shipped, what orders didn’t get paid and need to be relisted, etc. Crazy stuff.
This is where I began to learn the principle that too many moving parts can kill or overkill an eCommerce company. Trust me, it took me a long time to ACTUALLY LEARN THIS. For every item you sell it multiplies not only by 1 but by a magnitude. Each item has multiple stages and each transaction has multiple stages. This is why I like to keep things simple today and help my eCommerce, eBay and Amazon coaching clients to do the same. I call it swimming upstream by selling higher ASP (Average Selling Price) products that produce higher margins each and every time. I tell them the amount of time and energy to process a $100 profit sale is nearly the same energy it takes to process a $1 profit item. It’s up to you to decide where you will focus your time and energy.
I hope you enjoy eCommerce Story Time with Brandon and will come back for future episodes.
Cheers to selling smarter!
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