Santeeswapper Is Here To Stay

I created a bit of buzz this week with my pronouncement that I was running a “Going Out of Business Sale”. This message prompted multiple emails and at least three phone calls asking why I was abandoning my Boy Scout Memorabilia business. One collector told me he thought maybe I was going to sell out my cloth and open a pizza franchise or something. lol!


So let me use this platform to shed a little more light on my plans. I’ve tried to be a little coy about my shake up this fall. However, its probably time for me to pull the lid off those plans and let everyone know where I’m going. For those of you who listen to Scouting Hot Finds Radio then you know that in the episode Scouting Hot Finds Radio: How To Sell Your Boy Scout Patches I announced that after more than a decade I had decided to close my eBay Store. Essentially the story there is that you need to have at least 1,000 items to make the $49.99 eBay store worthwhile and I was down to only 300 items. So rather than continue to pay eBay for a what I consider a bad deal I closed the store.


Since 2007 I have maintained a two pronged strategy for selling Scouting memorabilia. I had my eBay store and I decided to go with my own branded store off eBay. I choose a service provider called ProStores which ironically is owned by eBay. For many years the url of this Boy Scout Memorabilia ProStore was my original website In fact a holdover of those days is the familiar logo that I sign off my Scouting Hot Finds Newsletters with. However, a few years ago I decided to take back my original website name and use it for a new purpose as a “mother landing page” for everything I’m doing online. So that prompted me to get really original and choose a new name for my ProStore – Yes genius! lol


So my evolution of changing my selling strategy really happened this year as I did another couple of episodes of the radio show. I did a show about eBay alternatives with Jason Shull as my guest and I talked about all the other places you could sell your stuff. At the time Jason Shull was starting up a Facebook Store and he shared that application in the show Scouting Hot Finds Radio: eBay Alternatives. In fact since then he and I have talked about that experiment and we are planning a follow show in the coming months to share the results of that and some other selling tactics.


It wasn’t really until I did the show with my guest Dave Scocca called SHF Radio: Buying Boy Scout Memorabilia On The Internet that the light bulb came on for me in regards to my ProStore. Dave talked about the buyers point of view and everything he said hit me like a sledgehammer. With my ProStore I was guilty of everything that he said drove away traffic. I had stale inventory that had not been updated very much in several years. Add that to the fact I was paying $50/month to keep it going and it was time to make a change. I decided by the end of 2012 I would close the ProStore forever.


The inventory in the ProStore is significant. At full retail it is comes up to nearly $100K in value. I could probably keep it open for another twenty years and never sell out of that inventory at full price so I made the decision to shake things up. One of the selling strategies that Jason Shull and I discussed was doing an updated version of the “old fashioned” straight sales list. So instead of trying to just run a regular sale on the website and asking people to visit the store I built a 67 page straight sales list that includes about 90% of the ProStore inventory. I also made four decisions that I hope will help the catalog be buyer friendly and successful for me.


I know that buyers like to see a simple pricing so I decided to go with whole numbers. Instead of acting like a gas station and trying to tack on .99 to the end of every price tag I just went with a whole digit. The second piece of this was what to set the price at. I decided to go at a minimum of 35% off with some items all the way to 50% off. I decided to let the sellers see all my cards. I used the inventory spreadsheet to reveal the total # of any item that I have available for sale. The result was my $100k Clearance Sale Catalog that was published in the Tuesday Morning Hot Finds on September 4, 2012. My final strategy to make things as simple as possible was to offer free shipping and handling on all orders!


So what’s next for the Santeeswapper after trying to sell out the inventory on this ProStore? Well late in 2012 I will reveal a completely new selling platform with all new inventory. I’ve been accumulating Scouting collectibles over the last couple of years including two major collections and I will have all those items on my new store. Look for future announcements about this and other pots I have on the proverbial oven this fall.


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