It’s true, we don’t like selling items for fixed prices, aka ‘buy-it-now’ prices. Especially on Ebay. But please realize, everyone is different and what does not work for us, might work great for you. You really have to decide what’s best for you, and your situation. If our viewpoint is helpful – great! If not – no worries – you really don’t have to listen to us, (but if it’s helpful – great).
Our aversion to fixed prices has to do with 3 issues.
Anchoring: (The question is – what comparisons do people make). Anchoring is a complicated psychological concept, but when you boil it all down, it means that people cannot forget about relevant, (and even irrelevant), numbers and prices related to your offer, and those numbers and prices will affect their decisions. For 18 inch doll clothes it is the AG Catalog, and it’s prices, that are drilled into everyone’s minds. You cannot price higher than AG without overcoming several challenges. Their prices are an anchor.
Even though we’ve tried to cultivate a ‘high end’ ‘exclusive‘ brand, and generally people have chosen to affirm that, we cannot get away from the AG Anchor very easily. (Except of course through our auctions, which is one way we avoid the effect of the AG anchor). But if you sell items at fixed prices, then you are tied to that anchor with no hope of avoiding it. People look at your price, then look at the AG Catalog, then back at your price, and they either say ‘yep, this makes sense’ or ‘nah, I don’t think so’.
The anchor can also work within your own shop. If you sell items Buy-it-now, and then try to do an auction at the same time, why would anyone ever bid an amount higher than the buy-it-now price you’ve got advertised on your site somewhere else – even if it’s for a slightly different outfit? They wouldn’t. It’s an anchor.
So anchors have to be used to help you, and not hurt you.
The good news (for you) is that there are appropriate high-priced anchors that you can reference and use as points of comparisons as you create your listings – Liberty Jane is one, and there are others like Damsels-in-Dress, and Keeper’s Dollies Duds. So, if I were writing your item description for you, I might say something like, “If you like the style and quality of Liberty Jane Clothing, you’ll LOVE our outfits, we’re one of their premium partners!” Or, “We are inspired by the quality and intense craftsmanship of Damsels-In-Dress and aspire to be like them”. This gives your bidder a point of reference, (an anchor), based on a high price point.
See how this works?! You just can’t say, ‘we are better than AG’ and expect to get a higher price by making that claim. In fact, by saying that, you’ve only just reminded people about the AG Anchor, which is not what you want to do.
Earnings: (What’s the best financial outcome). If you’re going to make an outfit, why sell it for $19, when you can auction it and, (if you do our auction blueprint steps), possibly get a lot more? The math works better via auctions – if you’re following our auction blueprint steps. That’s the bottom line. Yeah, there is a risk of having it go for less, but if you are making a good product, taking good pictures, and follow our auction blueprint steps, you’re going to be better off doing an auction.
Complaining: (What’s being said about you?). Our biggest issue with selling fixed priced items is that people are hypnotized by the AG Anchor, so if you try to list your items higher than AG’s, then they constantly have 1 request – “lower your prices”. What are they saying? They’re saying, “Hey, in my head, I have a number, and yours is too much higher than that number, so I’m unhappy with you”. This is a total buzz kill, and unfortunately often times people make this comment in public places almost as a way to scold you. So you’re compelled to argue or defend your prices. It’s a hassle. If you had a private counter at Neiman Marcus, then you could get away with high fixed priced items, because no one would shout, “NO WAY”. But this isn’t Neiman Marcus, this is the internet.
When someone complains about high prices, you can’t say, “hey look this took me 5 hours to make, and I used material that cost 4 times more than the material AG uses, and I designed the pattern from scratch, and unless I want to pay myself below minimum wage, I need to sell it for more than $19 bucks – and lots of people are willing to pay my higher price – and you wouldn’t buy it even if it was $19, so why do you even care? How about if you just give me a little bit of a break!?“. But of course you can’t say that. You’ve gotta be nice.
Compare all of these issues to an auction, (using our auction blueprint strategies)…
In an auction, we aren’t setting the prices, the crowd is. No one can complain and tell us to lower our prices – because we aren’t setting them, the crowd is. In an auction, no one seems to care about the AG Anchor, because we have our prior sales very well publicized as a relevant ‘anchor’.
An added benefit to having auctions that end high, is that they validate your ‘custom’ or ‘VIP’ project pricing. And it works in reverse. If people know you do custom projects for $150, then that informs their decisions about your auctions. It gives them an anchor.
Again, you have to decide what’s best for you…and if you go with Buy-It-Now pricing – and you’re happy with the results – Awesome!!!