5 Ecommerce Grinches Out to Steal Your Holiday Profits!

by Lisa Suttora on November 21, 2013

You thought the Grinch was bad when he tried to steal Christmas? Well he’s got nothing on these 5 “Ecommerce Grinches”.

They’re lurking around the marketplaces , hiding on your website, and trying to steal your sales!

Fortunately, it’s not too late to learn how to recognize them and thwart their profit stealing moves!

Lowball Larry. Lowball Larry is going to get that sale, even if it means undercutting your prices (and everyone elses) on the Amazon product page. He has an Amazon repricer and he’s not afraid to use it!

While Lowball can certainly be frustrating, you can beat him at his own game!

Let Lowball “limbo on down” with his prices and find out “just how low can he go?”

You keep your prices steady and let Lowball sell out first at razor thing margins.  Contrary to popular belief Amazon customers don’t always buy from the lowest priced seller.

With a late Thanksgiving this year, pent up buyer demand is projected to drive a $1.8 Billion dollar sales day on CyberMonday (Dec 2nd). Additionally 25% of  ”late to the game holiday sales” are projected to happen the week before Christmas. (Source: comScore)

So don’t let Lowball Larry scare you into early, drastic price reductions.

If the time comes where a price reduction is in order, consider competition, market supply, product sales rank and customer demand in your pricing strategy.

Invisible Ingrid. Shy and retiring,  Invisible Ingrid probably wasn’t the best candidate for marketing manager.

It seems she does everything possible to make SURE no one finds your products!

When you ask Ingrid what marketing she’s done lately, she scoffs!

  • “Why bother marketing” Ingrid says with a yawn. “Amazon and Ebay will do it all for me. I can just set it and forget it…”
  • Search engine optimize product titles and eBay items specific…  “So cliche.”, huffs Ingrid.

Unfortunately, thanks to Invisible Ingrid, no one can find your products online!

The key to getting your products found online this holiday season is to send Invisible Ingrid packing and bring in Empowered Ellen!

Empowered Ellen has keywords and a Pinterest business account and she knows how to use them!

Just a few keyword tweaks to your listings and pinning your products a few times a day and Ellen has your best holiday items front and center!

No Free Shipping Nolan. “There IS no free shipping!” Nolan shouts. “Gas isn’t free, boxes aren’t free, labor to ship ISN’T FREE.”

And while No Free Shipping Nolan DOES have a valid point (UPS and FedEx still charge to deliver packages!) a 2013 online holiday survey shows that 85% of today’s online holiday shoppers expect free shipping with NO minimum order requirement.

This doesn’t mean you have to give away the farm, but it does mean that to be in the holiday game, you do need to offer free shipping on at least some of your holiday items.

The benefit will be increased sales and happy holiday customers!

Market Saturation Margaret.  Market Saturation Margaret has flooded the market with your products at the very last minute. (In fact, she’s one of the reasons that Lowball Larry goes crazy with repricing.)

And frankly, she IS a problem. Too many sellers on an item, not enough demand, and you want these products sold by Christmas!

When Market Saturation Margaret rears her ugly head, you have three choices:

  • Hold ‘em. Keep prices steady and be willing to wait it out
  • “Promotion” ‘em. If you want OUT of this product, it’s time to run a short term promotion.
  • Market ‘em. Give Empowered Emma a call and have her market your products on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, via Email, Blog, Craigslist – whatever it takes to get that inventory sold.

Depending on your investment in this inventory, only you can make the decision on what your next move should be.

And if you decide that this product’s a keeper into 2014 – buy up the rest of Lowball Larry’s stock at dirt cheap prices and resell it for higher profits next year! :)


Stale Inventory Sam. The opposite of Lowball Larry, Stale Inventory Sam wants you to hang on to that aged and stale inventory and hold out for the highest profit for as long as possible.

“Storage is cheap!” argues Sam.  But what Sam’s not telling you is that inventory you sell for a $40 profit today can be turned into another $40 profit on a new item next month, instead of waiting indefinitely for a 60 dollar profit.

Most people wait to clear out old inventory until the end of the year.

Instead, do it now while shoppers are looking for that unique gift and they’re in the mood to spend money.

If an items been sitting there for more than three months, give it a small price adjustment to refresh your listing page.

If it’s been sitting there for most of 2012, run a holiday promotion on it and move it on out!

A Few Simple Changes Will Result in a Lot More Sales!

Even if you’re dealing with just one of these mean Ecommerce Grinches, making the changes above can mean the difference between a good holiday selling season and a great one!

How about you?

Have you encountered some friends of our “Ecommerce 5?”

-Lisa

 

 

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Helen Serrano December 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Awesome advice. This really opens retail sellers eyes and teaches us how to proceed.

Thanks a lot, Lisa. You’re the best.

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2 Lisa Suttora December 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Thanks Helen,
Yes, these Grinches are troublesome! :) But they don’t have to squash holiday sales!

Have a prosperous rest of the month!
-Lisa

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3 Serena December 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Great post. The one that drives me crazy is Lowball Larry. I honestly think some sellers don’t keep track of what they paid for an item, so they really don’t have much of a clue as to how much they’re losing before they go reprice happy!

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4 Lisa Suttora December 9, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Hey Serena,
Yes, there are so many reasons why Lowball Larry tanks his prices. Not knowing cost of goods, desperation, short sightedness, willingness to accept low margins, just plain not understanding the economics of ecommerce.

And to add to Lowball’s mess, once he triggers a price decrease, other sellers follow in his path.

Take a look at the comments above from Maida and Marlo. They’re beating Lowball at his own game!

-Lisa

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5 Marlo December 9, 2012 at 10:49 pm

I never assume that somebody bought the product at the same price you did. I’m thinking of the Kohl’s Cash I had after hitting them up on Black Friday. I had over $630 in Kohls Cash so technically….I didn’t pay for those items with my money. They were basically free. Because of that – I could make the mistake to low ball those items but -depending on the rank- I will sit out those that low ball. They may have 153 and the rank is 5500 but I will wait it out. If you happen to have a few of something left after the holidays…remember that people have birthdays and other occasions all the time. I have bought up the low-ballers inventory and flipped it a few times…love it!

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6 Lisa Suttora December 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Spot on, Marlo! I think you just inspired my next blog post “Flipping Lowballs” :)

Love it. And you can find Lowball Larry and his stock on both eBay and Amazon and do some profitable sourcing.

Lowball gets his money and is out of the game and you’re in it for the duration and sell profitably throughout the year.

Cheers!
-Lisa

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7 Maida Webster December 9, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Very timely Lisa. I actually have a nearly exclusive product (new old stock from the 1970′s) but one other AZ seller had it also and in order to keep the buy box I was being influenced by his item. Decided to just buy his today, took him out of the loop, raised my prices and sold 3 more in 24 hours. I’ll turn around and re-sell his as well. It’s easy to get caught up in the Lowball Larry dilemna! Thanks as always!

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8 Lisa Suttora December 9, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Way to go Maida! You beat Lowball Larry at his own game!

You took control of the market and are offering this product on YOUR terms now.

Congratulations! You are a savvy online merchant.

Cheers!
-Lisa

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9 Cheri December 10, 2012 at 12:16 am

Lisa,
I love your creative writing in the spirit of the Grinch!

Thanks to you, your support team, and the insight I’ve gained by your conventional wisdom, resources, & education, I’m armed with an arsenal of ammunition to keep Larry, Emma, Ingrid & friends at bay!

I always look forward to your posts & stellar content!

Thanks for everything, Lisa.

Here’s wishing you, your family, & your WDIS+ family an awesomely prosperous holiday season. Keep breaking records!

Cheri

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10 Lisa Suttora December 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Cheri,
You have an amazing love of learning and it will serve you well in your business!

Your enthusiasm, hard work and persistence will take your business far in 2013!

Have prosperous and very Happy Holiday!

-Lisa

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11 Auralee December 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Thanks Lisa, love reading your advice and tips……So glad I met you back in 2009….Your articles, blog posts and knowledge is something I always look forward to!

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12 Gopal Iyer December 11, 2012 at 9:18 am

Thanks for the advice. You are 100% right. I don’t know where these people come from, every year around holiday time they are there and my sales go down. In ebay, they sell items as “New Other” with a lower price. Actually these are brand new items. It is getting tough to fight these sellers

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13 Clayton Hay November 23, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Great advice for anytime of the year. Thanks Lisa for the great tips.

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14 Indranie November 25, 2013 at 6:28 am

Hey Lisa

Thanks for the helpful hits.

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