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Estate Sales Companies: Increasing Audience and Profitability
People buy and sell property and possessions for a number of reasons. There are more than ten thousand estate/garage sale companies in the US, and an even greater number of consumers who are interested in buying people's goods. With eBay, Craigslist, various local and specialized auctions, estate/garage sales, and consignment and antique shops, it's not an exaggeration to say that millions of Americans are consumers at a vast marketplace or have interest in selling there.
In this article, I will touch on only a portion of this marketplace, namely, estate and garage sales. I will suggest certain ways for estate and garage sale companies - both large and small - to increase their overall revenue while also making sales engaging and useful to their customers.
Large Estate Sale Companies:
Large estate sale companies already have their own websites with online auction capabilities, which are quite expensive to create and support. These websites only display the company's own goods, and this decreases the audience of their prospective buyers. These companies would do well to list their goods in larger virtual malls, which attract a wider audience at a much lower cost.
The idea of a private "virtual booth" in a larger online mall is not new; it's employed by some big online players, like Amazon. With a platform that houses many "virtual booths," the cost to each "booth owner" of building a quality buyers' experience is considerably lower than setting up a private shop with a separate company. While such virtual malls can provide online auctions for every participant, the actual estate sales and face-to face meetings (where the goods change hands) should retain their traditional mode, and should remain an integral part of the business model.
Small Estate Sale Companies:
The majority of estate/garage sales companies are small businesses, and many have no websites of their own. Some of them are proud to be hands-on people and practice the traditional walk-in approach only. These companies would do well to add an online component to their business - preferably in a platform that combines the benefits of online auctions with the traditional model of estate/garage sales.
A practical tool based on the idea of a virtual local mall may have some additional important features and benefits: It does not change the traditional business model of estate/garage sales or auctions. It just adds new technology benefits to the old process.
Provide more information to buyers with listings that include detailed descriptions of the seller's goods. In addition to traditional photos, each item description should contain the estate/garage sale code - the "booth name" - to help prospective buyers easily find desired listings, as well as the sale location. All this information should be open to all users without registration.
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