I’m going to be perfectly honest here, my first impression from Bidstitch’s announcement was not a great one. Starting with their first Instagram post, “eBay, Grailed, and Depop are taking all your cash and give you nothing in return!” Really? Well, for starters, they give you TRAFFIC. eBay gives you access to roughly 182 million users and 26 million from Depop. eBay actually has pretty good customer service (even though things don’t always go your way). Depop has a fairly rabid user base that is much quicker to make a purchase than the other platforms, at least in my experience. This is a LOT more than nothing. I agree the fees can be excessive though, so I’m willing to hear them out.
Quick backstory on myself, I’ve been using major selling platforms for my vintage business since 2003. Yep, and in 18 years of paying fees to these giants, I’ve padded their pockets with well over a half-million dollars. So when Bidstitch says they’re going to offer an alternative, I’m paying very close attention. With no further information from Bidstitch at this point, I headed to the comments. As expected the whole gang was there. The Haters, The Dick Riders, The Cheerleaders, The Trolls, etc. I was surprised (actually no I wasn’t), by skeptics eager to publicly state their hesitance based on a teaser. They hadn’t even revealed any details, at least give them a chance to tell us more before shooting them down or accusing them of exploitation.
Then they announced a “$9.99 Subscription Plan” (no transaction fees). And just like that, I want nothing more than for BidStitch to succeed. If you sell more than $100 a month in vintage on major platforms, this is a deal. Not a deal like you got a great price on something you would have paid more for, but a steal that has the potential to better your entire life. The roughly 10% fees you pay on major platforms are not just on your profit, they are on your total sales. Being able to pocket 10% of your total sales is huge.
Quick math breakdown:
- You sell $100,000 on eBay
- Your cost of goods is $50,000
- Your fees are $10,000 (selling fees are still around 10%, the extra few percent are actually payment processing fees added in)
- Your net profit is $40,000
- If you were to add the 10% ($10,000) saved on fees into your net profit, it’s actually increasing your profit by 25%
That’s one hell of a raise!
Of course, for this to work, Bid Stitch needs to convince enough sellers to be on board. The collective traffic of hundreds of individual dealers funneled into one spot. The difference between setting up a lone booth in a parking lot vs setting up at the Rose Bowl. This is sounding pretty good aside from the $9.99 a month subscription fee (I’ll get into that later). That alone should let you know that they’re not in this to exploit the market though. This is dirt cheap. If you complained about this being a big money-making scam for them, now would be a good time to quietly sit down and see how this all plays out.
A forum will also be offered on BidStitch. I personally love this idea, but not sure how successful this will be today. Back in my day (old man voice), Defunkd had a forum and it was the heart and soul of the site. This was pre-Instagram days though. Sure you can communicate on Instagram and learn from posts etc, but the information shared is essentially homeless. How do you retrieve it? Forums give information a home. A resource you can go back to. Defunkd has proven this with their forum that still houses the wealth of knowledge was learned by sharing within the community.
Time for a few things that I’m still not sold on yet. In an IG live with Drew Heifetz, The Thrift Lord explained how detailed the item specifics will be, being able to search by color, genre, stitching, decade, etc. While this sounds good on paper, it sounds like it could be a giant pain in the ass from the listing side. I don’t want to shoot this down though, as I have no idea what the execution on it will be. Maybe they found a way to do this that won’t increase the listing time. Hopefully so, because nobody likes listing. The quicker you can list an item the better. Another concern is the $9.99 monthly fee (hear me out on this one). I think it’s too cheap. I want this site to succeed, and to do so it’s going to need money. Eventually, people are going to want customer service, the site will need updates and repair, an advertising/marketing budget, staff, contributors, etc. If they can deliver what they’re saying they can, I’d be happy to pay a little more to better the chances of this site succeeding. After all, even double or triple their current subscription rate would be a bargain compared to transaction fees. What are your thoughts on a tier system?
- $9.99 for up to 20 listings a month
- $19.99 for up to 100 listings a month
- $29.99 unlimited
Anybody that is used to paying transaction fees would be happy to pay any of these rates if BidStitch can deliver on traffic. Once again, I don’t want to shoot them down for this. Maybe they have it all figured out, but it’s much easier to start with a higher subscription and lower it later than to start low and raise it on people later.
Lastly, my final concern is the facilitation of state sales tax, a service that major platforms handle automatically. As of now, this will be left to the sellers. This is my biggest concern and the one thing preventing me from diving in headfirst and focusing on BidStitch full time. I’m not an expert on this, which is exactly why I don’t like the idea of doing it myself. You need to register for a sales tax permit, collect the sales tax, report and file the sales tax. It all sounds like a headache dealing with each state, but I could be wrong about this. The last thing anybody wants is to get hit with a bill for years worth of sales tax that they never even collected (imagine 7.2% of everything you’ve sold). If anyone has experience with how this is done or a significant understanding of sales tax nexus conditions by state, please message me on Instagram.
In the end, what it all boils down to for me, is will it benefit my business? I don’t care if the people behind BidStitch get rich on this. If they can save me thousands of dollars a year, I hope they make millions. Their success and mine are unrelated. So far, it sounds like a potentially game-changing addition to this market and I don’t think they should be judged entirely by the launch version. There will be unseen hurdles and it’s going to be all about how they respond to user’s needs. I’m excited to see what this team has created and wish them the best.
Nice job Bidstitch, thanks for being creators.