Home U.S. Coin Forum

Buying/selling on Whatnot - helpful hints?

jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,337 ✭✭✭✭✭

I just got approved to be a live seller on whatnot. I'm really new to whatnot. Are there any "veterans" either as buyers or sellers who have any advice?

Comments

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,209 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Never heard of it. Is it similar to eBay?

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,337 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @PerryHall said:
    Never heard of it. Is it similar to eBay?

    Kind of. It's an app. They also run live auctions which seems to be the dominant selling method.

    Unlike eBay, sellers need to go through an approval process. As a result, most (all?) If the sellers appear to be legitimate businesses. The auctions I watched were almost all being streamed from a coin or comic shop (the two categories I was interested in). Only one of them appeared to be from someone's home.

    I really don't know much about it other than it's been popping up on my radar a lot recently so I thought I'd give it a try.

  • jeffas1974jeffas1974 Posts: 291 ✭✭✭

    Giveaways seem to be a necessary evil to attract eyeballs especially at first. Other sellers have gone the route of promoting themselves via sponsored giveaways on the streams of the very established sellers. There are extremely few sellers that I saw having success at selling anything outside of what most folks would classify as widgets. Those are a few observations from when I was actively buying last year.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,337 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jeffas1974 said:
    Giveaways seem to be a necessary evil to attract eyeballs especially at first. Other sellers have gone the route of promoting themselves via sponsored giveaways on the streams of the very established sellers. There are extremely few sellers that I saw having success at selling anything outside of what most folks would classify as widgets. Those are a few observations from when I was actively buying last year.

    This seems accurate based on my few hours of watching auctions. Although I do note that most sellers don't seem to post auction "catalogues" in advance of the sale. I'm hoping to post a catalog, have "pre-bidding" before we go live in the hopes of attracting more eyeballs.

    I do not expect to be selling anything high end, at least not at first. But I have a LOT of inexpensive inventory that I'd like to move.

    Thanks for the input.

  • jacrispiesjacrispies Posts: 671 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I heard it's mostly low end junk that sells for good money. The more expensive stuff gets overlooked, and I know someone who got a gold buffalo for a decent percentage under melt that way.

    "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23. Young fellow suffering from Bust Half fever.

  • originalisbestoriginalisbest Posts: 5,901 ✭✭✭✭

    Not really an app I use, though I know a few comic dealers making use of it. Makes sense to see if you can make cheaper widget stuff move for a result that works for you. Don't lose your shirt giving gold away under melt until/if you do get established on there. Good luck!

  • bigjpstbigjpst Posts: 3,030 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 21, 2024 3:24PM

    @jmlanzaf said:
    I just got approved to be a live seller on whatnot. I'm really new to whatnot. Are there any "veterans" either as buyers or sellers who have any advice?

    Not a veteran as I just started a few months ago. But my advice.
    Don't do buck and go auctions unless you plan to sell for a buck.

    After reading the other posts I'll add a few.

    Unless you are a seller with a large following, lots of silver items sell for melt or below. Even on the big name seller streams with 100 people watching stuff will sell cheap.
    Giveaways do seem to be a must, but lots of people(or maybe bots) bounce from stream to stream just to enter the giveaway with no intentions of actually buying.
    Listing items and descriptions before the auctions seems like a good way to get people an idea of what you have for sale. Otherwise, you have to just run auctions, or sit and do a show and tell until either someone asks a price.

  • bigjpstbigjpst Posts: 3,030 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 21, 2024 3:30PM

    The shipping thing seems to be a deal as well. Tough to sell items that are worth a couple bucks when the first thing the buyer purchases also comes with a $3.50 shipping add on. Shipping for Giveaways are on the seller.
    It can be fun, or extremely monotonous and boring if people aren't engaged. I've sold extra widgets and misc items and better coins in slabs. But when I factor in giveaways and shipping-fees, I end up better on ebay and other places so far. Still nice to move some of the stuff that wouldn't do good on ebay.

  • 2windy2fish2windy2fish Posts: 780 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What is your username?
    I would like to follow along and see what happens!

  • johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 27,332 ✭✭✭✭✭

    seen it and know nothing about it (yet)

  • CuprinkorCuprinkor Posts: 192 ✭✭✭

    There's a young guy here in Western Oregon who claimed to sell $85,000 worth of certified coins on Black Friday on WhatNot. Said he netted around 20%. I don't know him - one of the new players.

  • CuprinkorCuprinkor Posts: 192 ✭✭✭

    I know nothing about WhatNot.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,337 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Cuprinkor said:
    There's a young guy here in Western Oregon who claimed to sell $85,000 worth of certified coins on Black Friday on WhatNot. Said he netted around 20%. I don't know him - one of the new players.

    One of the local gold places is doing $10k+ per week. The guy I know who works there says that all of their profits come from Whatnot. It's definitely a different environment.

    I've almost got my 1st comic catalog ready for Friday night. Then I'm going to put together a coin catalog for sometime next week.

    I ran a trial stream last night. Took some getting used to. It's not a well developed as eBay and it's a little buggy at times.

  • CuprinkorCuprinkor Posts: 192 ✭✭✭

    Length of time an auction runs is 60 seconds, correct? I mean that it's fast and furious among those participating.

  • mattnissmattniss Posts: 547 ✭✭✭

    @Cuprinkor said:
    Length of time an auction runs is 60 seconds, correct? I mean that it's fast and furious among those participating.

    Each seller can choose on the fly. They have options as quick as 5 seconds and as long as 5 minutes. Very common to see "buck and go" auctions anywhere from 10 - 60 seconds with larger reserve priced auctions commonly 45 - 90 seconds. Not to mention that there's true auctions that reset to 10 seconds whenever a bid is placed between 0-10 seconds left and there's also "sudden death" auctions where when the timer is over, the auction is over.

  • bigjpstbigjpst Posts: 3,030 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes. Lots of options for time. After you watch for a while you start to see patterns. Sudden death gets used on items where they know lots of people will accidentally overbid.
    It is definitely buggy. Lots of times I will be doing my stream and it will notify me that I joined the steam. Couple times a month the system goes down of had other issues. They do seem to get it up and running again pretty fast

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,337 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Cuprinkor said:
    Length of time an auction runs is 60 seconds, correct? I mean that it's fast and furious among those participating.

    It's adjustable.

  • U1chicagoU1chicago Posts: 5,500 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf how did it go?

  • Elcontador1Elcontador1 Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    I saw them set up at Long Beach last year. A bunch of friendly, enthusiastic young adults from I think it was Cincinnati. A low value coin would stream and auction for 60 seconds, then the next. the people doing this seemed sincere and seemed to have a good time doing it.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,337 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 4, 2024 10:02PM

    @U1chicago said:
    @jmlanzaf how did it go?

    Sorry, I've been meaning to give an update but I've mostly been doing comic auctions.

    I did a spur of the moment "pop-up - $1 and go" coin auction to sort of test things out. In retrospect, that may have been a bit of a mistake. I started everything at $1 and, for the most part, I was giving things away. LOL. I sold a couple $2 red seals for $1 each. My big mistake was selling a total of about $100 worth of 90% silver for $40. But it was a valuable learning experience - tuition as we call it.

    During that auction, I never had more than 12 people in the room but over 100 people passed through. My total take was $56 but the stuff was worth about $150. More importantly, I picked up 20 followers.

    It's all about "followers" and building a following. If you look at the sellers that have been there awhile, many of them have over 10,000 followers and routinely have auctions with 100+ people in the room. They can go $1 and go and get very good money.

    I then ran my first official, scheduled auction for comics. I still went $1 and go. But in the case of the comics, $1 was fine. I sold a total of 102 comics for a total of $222. I was very happy with that result as I also picked up another 20 followers.

    My 2nd official auction for comics was Friday night. I sold a total of 70 comics for $325. These were slightly better books, so part of the increase in sales was due to that. But I was very happy as I consistently had mid teens in the room (over 200 people passed through) and I picked up another 20 followers. I also got $10 in tips as I sold some bargain books to a couple of happy people who each tipped me $5.

    So, I now have 60 followers. Still a far cry from the people who have 10,000 or more. But it's all about building a base.

    My first official catalogued coin auction is Wednesday night at 8 p.m. (Everythingvaluable on Whatnot if you want to see.) I'm selling all PCGS slabbed 1960s Proof and SMS coins. About 80 catalogued coins starting at anywhere from $3 to $25. I already have one bid in the pre-bidding period, so I'm excited!

    I'm going to try and run two catalogued auctions per week for the next month or two: coins on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. and comics at 8 p.m. on Friday nights. Then we'll see where things are.

    It's an interesting vibe on the site. The big operations are just about having a party. The chat is filled with people talking to each other and to the auctioneer. It's kind of a cross between eBay and a social media site.

    Check out one of the big operations like krakenhits for cards or one of the big coin companies. Krakenhits has 150,000+ followers. Their auctions usually have 300 to 500 people in the room. They run multiple auctions per week and are selling hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's insane. I want to be them with coins!

  • RampageRampage Posts: 9,412 ✭✭✭✭

    I know someone who does quite well with it, but as others have already stated, it is 100 percent low end "stuff", like proof sets, a pile of partial date and low end full date buffalo nickels, junk wheats, and so on. The high end things tend to get overlooked, because the users of the app are not high end collectors. They are novelty collectors.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,337 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Rampage said:
    I know someone who does quite well with it, but as others have already stated, it is 100 percent low end "stuff", like proof sets, a pile of partial date and low end full date buffalo nickels, junk wheats, and so on. The high end things tend to get overlooked, because the users of the app are not high end collectors. They are novelty collectors.

    I think that's true in most categories. Cards seem different.

    I don't know if it's the nature of the collectors so much as the nature of the app. Both, I'm sure, are factors. But people use the app almost as social media.

    Most people, even the bigger guys don't catalog their auctions in any meaningful way or at all. As a result, they are all just drop-in auctions. I've been spending (wasting?) Time cataloging hoping that I cab draw in specific buyers. Every auction has had one or two pre-bidders but most of the people just pop in to see what's going on

    Personally, I find the dynamic kind of odd. I can see how it's fun. However, it is not really an efficient method for finding specific items.

    I'm mostly hoping to use it to sell widgets and things that are hard to sell quickly on ebay. That's why I've been focusing on comic books since I have a 15,000 book inventory of widgets.

    They recruited me from ebay because, they say, they are trying to get more professional sellers and move toward more high end material and more BIN listings. But they were quite open about the nature of the current sale demographics.

  • U1chicagoU1chicago Posts: 5,500 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf thank you for the update! It sounds like an interesting experience and fortunately the tuition payment wasn’t too bad for your first time (and now you know better what to do in your next coin auction).

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,337 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @U1chicago said:
    @jmlanzaf thank you for the update! It sounds like an interesting experience and fortunately the tuition payment wasn’t too bad for your first time (and now you know better what to do in your next coin auction).

    It is an interesting site. I don't know that most of the more advanced collectors around here would have much use for it. However, it can be fun and it is pretty social. Even with my paltry following, I manage to have fun for the two hours or so that I'm streaming live.

  • bigjpstbigjpst Posts: 3,030 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 5, 2024 5:45AM

    Glad to see you’re settling in.
    You’re right following is key. Most of the big sellers run giveaways constantly where you need to follow to enter. I do a few giveaways of cheap items like war nickels etc every show and usually get 100 followers per show. Very few seem to turn into buyers during that show.
    It also seems even on the big sellers silver premiums are low. I’ve purchased several vintage items for generic prices.

    Did a buck and go Engelhard bar ended at $30. But then the same person asked to buy a group at a more accurate market price.

    Junk silver usually sells for about spot for me. But after a few shows I have a few active buyers that seem to buy the bulk of my items.
    I did figure I would try cataloging my certified coins yesterday with a photo and starting price. Didn’t have one person ask about them. So I just kept running random items. Haha.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,337 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @bigjpst said:
    Glad to see you’re settling in.
    You’re right following is key. Most of the big sellers run giveaways constantly where you need to follow to enter. I do a few giveaways of cheap items like war nickels etc every show and usually get 100 followers per show. Very few seem to turn into buyers during that show.
    It also seems even on the big sellers silver premiums are low. I’ve purchased several vintage items for generic prices.

    Did a buck and go Engelhard bar ended at $30. But then the same person asked to buy a group at a more accurate market price.

    Junk silver usually sells for about spot for me. But after a few shows I have a few active buyers that seem to buy the bulk of my items.
    I did figure I would try cataloging my certified coins yesterday with a photo and starting price. Didn’t have one person ask about them. So I just kept running random items. Haha.

    LOL. That sounds about right.

    I had catalogued 175 comics for Friday night, with pictures. There were a few pre-bids, but I just start running the catalog in order and no one is bidding. Then the requests started coming so I moved up some items, then they started requesting things that weren't in the catalog. By the end of 2-1/2 hours about half of what I sold was not in the catalog.

    The users seem to embrace the randomness of it as well as the social side of it. They seem to have little interest in auction catalogs.

    Thanks for stopping by. I did see you pop into the auction. I meant to reach out here but I've been swamped at work and with cataloguing. The Wednesday catalog is done but now I'm working on the Friday catalog and I have two future auctions already scheduled. I can't wait for my summer break. LOL.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,337 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For those that are still curious, I ran my first catalogued coin auction last night. It was 78 lots of 1960-1967 Proof and SMS coins. All coins were PCGS slabbed and of common grade. The starting bids were as low as $3 (RB cents) and as high as $25 (Proof Franklins). I also tossed in $1 lots of 90% towards the end of the auction with a $15 starting bid.

    I was on for 90 minutes. I had a peak of 32 people in the room although 12 of them were just there for the giveaways as they left immediately after.

    I ended up with 8 different buyers of 49 lots. I also gave away 3 cheapo slabs that hadn't sold earlier. The 90% sold for $17 to $20 + shipping (for most people, the shipping was free as they had maxed out on earlier purchases). A couple coins actually got over 10 bids. Total sales were $383 on the 49 lots with a net of $335 after fees.

    Again, over 150 people passed through. I picked up another 20 followers.

    The lesson continues to be:
    1. Followers matter.
    2. Whatnot shoppers like to channel hop.
    3. Inexpensive material sells. Premium material does not at my level of followers.

    They are having a zero fee day 24 hours before the Super Bowl. As a result, I'm running my weekly Friday night comic auction followed by a Saturday action figure auction and a Sunday morning miscellaneous coin & bullion auction. I need giveaways to drive volume and I need more followers to try and move up the ladder.

    eBay is still the better sales venue but whatnot is quicker. You can sell 100 lots in a couple of hours with some work, but the pricing will mostly be wholesale or sub-wholesale.

  • Project NumismaticsProject Numismatics Posts: 1,284 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf - seems like a ton of work just to move lower value items. Is the goal to build up the followers to the point you can sell higher value items? Or are you thinking about it more as an experiment or a marketing tool to drive people to other sales channels?

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,337 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Project Numismatics said:
    @jmlanzaf - seems like a ton of work just to move lower value items. Is the goal to build up the followers to the point you can sell higher value items? Or are you thinking about it more as an experiment or a marketing tool to drive people to other sales channels?

    Both. I do have a lot of low dollar stuff that's been accumulating. I'm tired of tripping over it. But I also think it's possible to get to the Big Leagues. The larger operations with thousands of followers get good money. They still tend to sell bullion and widgets. But I'm okay with that.

    As for the work, the hardest part is creating the catalog which might explain why I'm one of the few who does it. Lol. But if I get a big enough following, I may dispense with the catalog and just do random pulls.

  • Coin FinderCoin Finder Posts: 6,933 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 8, 2024 8:08AM

    Sounds labor intensive in that you need to monitor it and process the shipping for 100's of items unless you are only selling a couple of things... Hard to do unless you hire someone to do just that.

  • They are making way for sure. They have some good stuff and as a seller on it you can find the right buyer if you sell the item right. Great concept and I think they will be around. Will they take over eBay? Probably not, but it is a great niche coin collectibles app to find good deals and most of all a great place to go if you are a seller who does not like ebay

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,337 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Coin Finder said:
    Sounds labor intensive in that you need to monitor it and process the shipping for 100's of items unless you are only selling a couple of things... Hard to do unless you hire someone to do just that.

    Yes and no. In a normal week before Whatnot, I shipped 50 packages on ebay. Now I'm shipping 80 or 90. The biggest auction I had sold 102 items but that only turned into 17 packages.

    No one is going to pay me to do nothing, so...

  • Coin FinderCoin Finder Posts: 6,933 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My statement about labor assumes you have a shop to run with many customers and this add on would take an employees time away from the counter. Unless I am misunderstanding it has to be run live. Can the auctions be recorded in advance and then "turned on"?

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,337 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Coin Finder said:
    My statement about labor assumes you have a shop to run with many customers and this add on would take an employees time away from the counter. Unless I am misunderstanding it has to be run live. Can the auctions be recorded in advance and then "turned on"?

    Actually most of the bigger sellers (not me) are stores running the auctions from within the store. They move more product, faster on Whatnot than they would in the store. One of the local coin stores says they now make all their money on Whatnot. They are doing $10,000+ per week.

    No, you can't pre-record it. How could you record an auction and then insert the bidders later?

  • Coin FinderCoin Finder Posts: 6,933 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 8, 2024 9:09AM

    "No, you can't pre-record it. How could you record an auction and then insert the bidders later?"

    HA! no... that's not what I meant but point taking. I'm sure A. I. will get around to eventually, but that's a different discussion.

    Not sure I want to take this on. Still learning...

    Good thread , thanks

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Emoji
Image
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file