Sell Your Used Books Using Business Metrics

By Joe Waynick
April 14, 2014

Did you know that if you sell your used books using business metrics that you can significantly increase your revenue and profitability?

“Just what do you mean by that?” you ask. Good question.

Let’s assume that you’ve been selling used books online for the past six months. In month number seven it’s the 10th day of the month and sales month-to-date are $2,500.

Is it a good month for you so far? Obviously, you can’t answer the question because you don’t have any details about the business. But let me tell you a little secret. Whenever I ask other book sellers that question, they can’t answer it either.

That’s a shame because if booksellers only paid closer attention to their numbers they’ll see a greater level of success in a shorter period of time.

The Benefits of Looking Ahead

Let’s take another look at how you can sell your used books using business metrics. If month-to-date sales are $2,500 on the 10th that means the business is averaging $250 per day. That being the case, you can reasonably assume that sales will reach $7,500 by the end of the month.

Do you see how that works? Are you projecting your monthly sales on a daily basis? And if you are, are you comparing this month’s projection to last month’s actual sales?

For entrepreneurs it’s far better to look ahead and predict what’s coming to avoid disaster than to look behind and figure out what just crushed your business.

Better yet, are you comparing your monthly sales to the same month last year? Is your business growing or is it shrinking?

If you’re a typical bookseller, you’re not tracking your sales at this level of detail. But if you were to start tracking and understanding the metrics of your business you’ll quickly uncover ways to easily increase sales and profits.

How Metrics Help You Sell Your Used Books

1. Always keep your goals in sight.
It’s a well-known fact that when you set tangible and realistic goals you have a much better chance of being successful. However, in order to reach your goals you have to know which metrics can accurately monitor your progress.

By knowing which metrics affect your sales and profits and reviewing those numbers on a daily basis, you can determine if you’re meeting your targets and make micro-adjustments throughout the month as necessary to sell your used books in greater numbers.

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Forewarned is forearmed.”

You should take that advice to heart because you can arm yourself with the advantage of knowing where your business stands at any given moment.

For instance, if you know where to sell used books to maximize sales, you my want to increase the use of those distribution channels.

2. Identify and manage your sales drivers.
There are only a handful of activities that every bookseller who is selling on Amazon should perform on a daily basis that are needed to achieve big results. The following key activities are what drive your sales:

  • Scout for new inventory daily.
  • List new inventory online daily.
  • Ship orders daily.
  • Answer customer correspondence daily.
  • Reprice often.

When sales are sluggish most Internet booksellers don’t know how to improve them. If you don’t know what to do to improve your business, simply doing the five activities above will get the cash flowing again to sell your used books.

3. Discover problems early by knowing your metrics.

When most booksellers see a dip in sales and revenue, they try to go back to the previous month and figure out what went wrong. But if they had only kept track of their business metrics throughout the month, he or she could have discovered the downward trend and taken corrective action before the month was a bust.

For example, by keeping track of how many books are listed online each day, you can reliably predict your sales volume weeks in advance. Here are some key metrics every bookseller should track and measure daily:

  • Daily listings.
  • Average listing price.
  • Average sale price.
  • Average offerings.
  • Sales velocity.
  • Average cost of goods sold.

By collecting and reviewing the above data on a daily basis you can predict problems in advance and take whatever action is necessary to correct the deficient areas of your business before your monthly sales figures are affected.

4. Actively coach employees.
When you track and post your metrics for employees to see, they’ll know what you consider important.

For example, if employees are aware of their daily listing quota, the number of packages that should be picked and packed hourly, and the desired company feedback scores, then they know exactly how their work performance is being measured and they’ll automatically adjust their activities to meet your expectations and sell your used books.

That holds true even if you’re a one person operation because if you’re aware of your metrics, you’ll automatically begin to adjust your own behavior to maximize sales and revenue.

Now that you know what you should be doing, we’re going to explore several ways to use your business metrics to improve your revenues and profits.

A Different Point of View

Now you have a starting point for you to begin looking at your business from an entirely different perspective.

Try to always remember that when you’re analyzing your business you don’t want to just look at your metrics for the sole purpose of deciding what needs to be fixed. Use your metrics to discover what’s working well and do a lot more of it to sell your used books.

Joe Waynick is author of several eCommerce books covering the bookselling and publishing industry. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeWaynick.

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