Thursday, May 03, 2007
Thursday, 12 April 2007
Drop Off Stores, Part 2
There was a comment added to my drop-off stores post the other day asking what franchise owners can do to be more profitable. Here is what I think is going on for these stores.
1. Who is buying these franchises? A lot of people call me thinking about buying into these franchises. I ask their eBay selling experience, and it's zero. OK then why open a store based on something on which you know nothing? "Well, it was either that or Quizno's." So this seems to attract businesspeople/investors who no nothing. I usually say then by that, why not open a dentist's office since you probably know nothing about that either.
2. That's a major flaw! If I were the franchisee, I would know that the whole drop-off model relies on eBay expertise. You are selling eBay expertise. Don't try to sell it yourself on eBay! We'll do it for you! We know how to do this. OK, well if the store is owned by someone who doesn't know how to do this, and maybe he hires your typical mall workers who don't know how to do this, then what do you have. You are selling expertise you don't have. I wouldn't sell a franchise to someone who weren't already a strong eBay seller. You do NOT become a strong eBay seller by reading a few books and getting some training. It's not academic.
3. I once heard a stat that said something like many of these franchises thought there should be one store for every X00,000 people... so stores were popping up every few miles. They shouldn't be every few miles because not every town can support the store. It's not about people. It's about the value of their possessions. Which leads us to...
4. Make sure the store is in a more upscale neighbourhood. I've driven through some sad towns with a drop-off franchise. I guess that makes the eBay drop-off store a pawn shop alternative? I don't think that'll work since then you have low value items. Which leads us to...
5. The stores I see doing better have standards about the value of items that they'll sell. If you get 35% of a sale, and you won't take anything with an estimated value of under $100, then you are doing ALL that work for $35 bucks. If you are willing to take $50 items, you are going to break your ass for $17.50, assuming it even sells for $50. You won't always be right about these values!
6. Get the right staff and train them. I know someone who started his own drop-off store, and hired what didn't seem to be the brightest people. They literally listed an item on eBay with the title, "telephone," having NO idea how titles can make or break your sale. So your staff can make or break you.
And then you have marketing and advertising... just in case you were doing all of the above correctly. :) I have never seen a listing template for a drop-off store and liked the template. I have higher standards, but I also know that what we do with templates improves business. Hey drop-off stores, if your items started selling or 10% higher prices or 10% more often, how would that affect your business? Well, then hire us! You all look the same, and you're mostly floundering.
Luckily for drop-off stores, you're at the point where most people know what you do. You do what the woman in the 40-Year-Old Virgin does! You no longer have to advertise based on explaining what you do. So now what?
It's everybody. It's the franchisers themselves choosing people who probably should go open a Quizno's. It's the franchisees hiring cheap help who never really understand the eBay marketplace and how to work it. It's everybody putting these stores in the wrong neighbourhoods, and then wondering why nobody comes in or why nobody brings anything of good value. But it's definitely top down. If the franchisers were pickier about who got stores and WHERE they put the stores, and then the franchiser were pickier about item value and how hiring and training are done, then you have a different model.
An iSold It just opened 4 miles south of me. I thought about going in and asking if I can be of any help. And then I remembered that I'm not allowed to be of any help.
Thursday, 12 April 2007 at 07:58 AM in Just An Observation | Permalink
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