Retail Sell Through Rate

The retail sell through rate (STR) is what big box retailers look for when considering new products.

Sell Through RateSimply put, your STR is the percentage of listings that end successfully over a specified time. First let’s define successfully. By that I mean an auction that ends with a sale at a price where you make a profit. Next we have to consider the time factor. Some sellers measure their STR over a one-week period while others prefer to look at a month. The longer the period the more accurate your data will be as anyone can have a bad week. For instance, if you measured sales during a week with a major holiday when people are away from their computers, you may have a low STR and think your product just wasn’t selling well.

Now that we know what STR is, why is it important? First of all it is a measure of the sales potential of a product. If I am considering selling a new product, I will look at the STR of the product by other sellers before I decide to purchase a quantity to sell.

Retail STRIf the STR of that product by other sellers is low, that is a red flag and I will do a lot more research before deciding if I want to sell that product. Your research may tell you to totally avoid the product –thereby saving you some money, or it may show that other sellers are not selling the product correctly and thereby creating an opportunity.

The other reason to watch STRs has to do with fee control. If you listed ten identical items you would pay ten separate listing fees. Now if your sell through rate was only 50% (5 items sold) that means that you paid listing fees on the other 5 items that didn’t sell. Therefore your listing fee on the ones that did sell is effectively doubled. If only 3 items sold, your listing fees just went up 70%.

If you are selling expensive goods, say over $200, then your STR can be lower than if you are selling something for $20 because the fees (both listing and final value) are a lower percentage of the price.

STR Sell Through Rate