October 21, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Gift-Wrapped Profits: eBay Income Booster!

gift-wrapped-profitsWe’re now more than half way through October, which means that it’s only a little more than two months away from the biggest selling bonanza of the year – Christmas!

Every year, around late November/early December, I start to get a lot of emails from people asking about Christmas sales and what they can do to get ready? But the truth is that’s far too late, as sales actually pick up way sooner, right after Halloween, and peak in the first few weeks of December.

But the idea is still valid – after all Christmas is such a good opportunity for sellers that it would be foolish not to try and take advantage of it as much as possible.

And really that’s what today’s article is all about – a simple concept that almost any business can use which will not only increase sales but also increase your profit margins. What am I talking about? Offering GIFT WRAPPING.

Before you get scared – you don’t need to be a master craftsperson to offer gift wrapping to your customers! Simple really is best in this instance. Just take a look at Amazon’s offering to see what I mean.

You don’t need anything more than these three parts:

  • Gift wrap, a box or bag (depending on the item and its packaging)
  • A ribbon
  • A small card with a message

And that’s it!

amazon-gift-wrappingAs well as making it easier for you, the simplicity of it also means that the cost is very low. Wrapping paper, ribbon, a single card and a small amount of your time…

A quick search on eBay and I find 15 sheets of Christmas themed wrapping paper for £1.87 delivered:

ebay-gift-paperThat gives you a cost of 12p each, assuming you use a whole sheet for each item, and that’s with it pre-cut! Buying in rolls will be much cheaper:

roll-gift-paperAnd then for the bow, another quick search and I find a 2m roll (again, Christmas-themed) available for just £0.99 delivered:

christmas-ribbonAssuming that lasts 10 items (once again I’m being conservative) that means 10p per wrapping.

Then the cost of a printed gift message is negligible!

That means, at a worse case scenario, it’s going to cost you 20p per wrapping. In comparison, Amazon charge £2.99 for this service, and that’s for a Blu-ray, which is really the easiest item possible!

£2.99 – £0.20 in costs = £2.79 profit. Just over 93% margin, not bad huh!?

And Amazon’s price is actually fairly reasonable when you look at what shops charge on average for a service like this.

Selfridges charge £5 for their gift box and a personalised message:

selfridgesThe White Company offer a “premium gift box service”, which starts from £5.

Some companies don’t charge as much, such as The Fragrance Shop, who charge a standard £1 for their wrapping service:

cheap-gift-wrappingOf course it’s up to you how much you’re going to charge, and it does also depend a lot on the items and what your offer (customised cards etc.) but I do recommend keeping it somewhere in the middle, around £1.50-£3. To me that’s a reasonable amount as it encourages purchases from your customers, while still adding nicely to your margins (many sellers on eBay will make more profit on the gift wrapping that their actual items!).

So if this sounds interesting and is something you would like to add to your business in the lead up to Christmas, here’s what you need to get started:

Gift wrapping supplies – wrapping paper, ribbon etc.

I’ve already demonstrated how cheaply you can buy these items online, even from our very own eBay!

As always, you’ll get better prices if you buy in larger amounts, but don’t go crazy if this is the first time you’re offering gift wrapping!

A big consideration that we touched upon before is sheets vs rolls. It goes without saying that wrapping using pre-cut sheets is significantly easier and quicker than using rolls, but of course it’s also a lot more expensive.

Personally I go with rolls, as it’s still very easy (once you’ve had a bit of practice!).

Another aspect that you need to make a decision on is the number of styles/designs to offer – you can keep things simple and just go for a single set design or you can offer multiple choices.

I’m not a huge proponent of only offering one option (as Amazon do) but at the same time, you don’t want to overcomplicate things and fill your home/office with hundreds of different rolls of wrapping paper. Something like 4-5 design styles will probably work best.

Practice.

While you’re only going to be offering simple gift wrapping, you should still practice a little bit before moving on to your customers’ items. After all, you want them to look perfect!

Images to advertise the service

No, you should not just use random images! Wrap some sample items and then take your own pictures. Make it look as good as possible and really push the quality and value of the service – just as if you’re photographing actual items to list on eBay.

Now 90% of the people on eBay who offer gift wrapping mention it somewhere in their listing, and you have to contact them for a separate invoice if you want the service.

But I have a MUCH better way to advertise this to your customers, which will result in a way higher percentage of buyers taking you up on the offer:

Add a gift-wrapped variation to your listing.

Creating a variation of your product that is gift wrapped (at a higher price of course) is really the best way to advertise this service. It’s easier to see for people who know they are interested in gift-wrapping and it will also get a lot of impulse purchases from people who are buying presents and think “yeah why not, I might as well get that perfect wrapping and save myself the trouble”.

Blog readers who have implemented this strategy in previous years have reported a huge increase in sales vs simply advertising the service within the actual listing, so please take the time and make sure you do it as well!

Of course you should still have some info on the service in the description, as otherwise buyers might be unclear on the difference and what exactly is included. You also have to ask for their message if you’re offering custom cards.

One last point that I want to bring up before we come to the end of today’s post – please always ensure that the wrapping won’t be completely ruined/damaged during shipping. There is no point in you wrapping an item perfectly if it’s going to reach your customer in a damaged state. This is especially important for orders that are sent straight to the recipient, as that’s a sure-fire way to create an angry buyer.

But if you stay away from overly complicated, extravagant bows, you shouldn’t have any problems here!

And that’s about it. This is an incredibly simple and easy method of increasing your sales and margins! Please don’t let that put you off – sometimes the simplest ideas are best.

Who knows, you might even be so pleased with the results that you end up offering the service year round? After all, Christmas isn’t the only time of the year that people need presents.

I look forward to hearing the results for any of you who do implement this idea. Good luck!

I’ll see you again on Friday when we have our 43rd Q&A post – slowly nearing my target of 50 by year end!

All the best,
Andrew

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