Discussion Forum: Messages by calsbricks (5774)
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 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 10, 2019 14:18
 Subject: Re: Future of BL with brands?
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 Topic: Help
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
Member Since Contact Type Status
Aug 12, 2008 Contact Member Seller
Buying Privileges - OKSelling Privileges - OK
Store: CalsBricks
In Help, randyf writes:
  In Help, calsbricks writes:
  In Help, Cob writes:
  In Help, popsicle writes:
  Beyond the two brands; AFOL Designer Program and BrickArms, are there currently
any other brands under the umbrella search option All Brands?

What little I know of the timeline-of-events, was that the All Brands
listing option was put into place first, allowing BrickArms an in, onto BL’s
platform. I remember Jaclyn's announcement: https://www.bricklink.com/message.asp?ID=1071320

Entirely possible I've got it all wrong, as clueless to site updates as I
feel like most of the time

Was folding BrickArms into BL the original intent for the adding of the All
Brands
listing option? Or was the option's genesis to be an umbrella
term for the planned introduction of other brands?

Are there plans or thoughts of adding more brands? Should there be? (I've
no opinion on this last question, just curious of what others think)

Maybe there’s a mission statement of sorts, that spell out these points? If so,
direction to it would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Cory

I believe "all brands" as been there from the beginning.

+1 - It has. I cannot find the message which was put out by Jaclyn after the
furore of the Brickarms saga but in it she suggested they would always consider
adding other brands but not clones, or something like that. Nothing else ever
emerged from that but who really knows what the intentions of BL management are.
With the various tangents they tend to move off onto, almost anything is possible.

A mission statement - dreamer

As far as I know, there will be no more brands added to BrickLink and the BrickArms
addition may be depricated. These were stipulations by LEGO for the ADP to happen.

Cheers,
Randy

Interesting and lets hope it materialises in that way.
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 10, 2019 13:58
 Subject: Re: Future of BL with brands?
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 Topic: Help
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
Member Since Contact Type Status
Aug 12, 2008 Contact Member Seller
Buying Privileges - OKSelling Privileges - OK
Store: CalsBricks
In Help, Cob writes:
  In Help, popsicle writes:
  Beyond the two brands; AFOL Designer Program and BrickArms, are there currently
any other brands under the umbrella search option All Brands?

What little I know of the timeline-of-events, was that the All Brands
listing option was put into place first, allowing BrickArms an in, onto BL’s
platform. I remember Jaclyn's announcement: https://www.bricklink.com/message.asp?ID=1071320

Entirely possible I've got it all wrong, as clueless to site updates as I
feel like most of the time

Was folding BrickArms into BL the original intent for the adding of the All
Brands
listing option? Or was the option's genesis to be an umbrella
term for the planned introduction of other brands?

Are there plans or thoughts of adding more brands? Should there be? (I've
no opinion on this last question, just curious of what others think)

Maybe there’s a mission statement of sorts, that spell out these points? If so,
direction to it would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Cory

I believe "all brands" as been there from the beginning.

+1 - It has. I cannot find the message which was put out by Jaclyn after the
furore of the Brickarms saga but in it she suggested they would always consider
adding other brands but not clones, or something like that. Nothing else ever
emerged from that but who really knows what the intentions of BL management are.
With the various tangents they tend to move off onto, almost anything is possible.

A mission statement - dreamer
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 10, 2019 09:15
 Subject: Re: Any one use Brickstock? Need Help
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 Topic: Related Software
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
Member Since Contact Type Status
Aug 12, 2008 Contact Member Seller
Buying Privileges - OKSelling Privileges - OK
Store: CalsBricks
In Related Software, OmnipresentECA writes:
  In Related Software, uvt203 writes:
  In Related Software, OmnipresentECA writes:
  Hello,

I have recently started using Brickstock to inventory, and sell my Legos. But
I am un-able to do "mass-Updates". It says it needs a "Bricklink-Lot ID" and
I am not seeing how to give my Brickstock inventory a Lot ID based off of my
Bricklink inventory.

If any one can explain how to do mass updates via Brickstock it would be greatly
appreciated!

Thanks again!
Ethan Arndt

You can not make updates when loading new items for sale - you need to use mass
upload. Update is for ..... updates

/Asger

Yes, lol. I understand that and I do that. I am trying to MASS-UPDATE inventory
that I already have on Brinklink. For instance I have 25 2x2 Bricks on Brinklink,
I need to UPDATE it to 32 and I need to do this for 100 different items. But
instead of doing this 1 at a time per different Item, how do I update quantities
for more than 1 Item?

What has been said is correct. You are not using either the right menu entry
or the correct mass upload box.

First things first download your inventory into Brickstock. Secondly right click
on the top line of the bricklink data and select Lot ID (it is near the bottom
and will add a column to your screen display which shows your lot id.

When you have altered the items that you wish to change quantities for - use
select all - and export mass update in xml to Bricklink. That cr4eates a file
which you8 must paste into the bottom box of the mass update screen (Not the
top). Verify that file and then update your inventory.

Hope that helps - works every time.
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 10, 2019 08:40
 Subject: Re: Retain after sold out?
 Viewed: 28 times
 Topic: Selling
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
Member Since Contact Type Status
Aug 12, 2008 Contact Member Seller
Buying Privileges - OKSelling Privileges - OK
Store: CalsBricks
In Selling, Teup writes:
  In Selling, calsbricks writes:
  In Selling, nologolego writes:
  In Selling, yorbrick writes:
  In Selling, Sadler_Bricks writes:
  Can I get the exact meaning of

Retain after sold out???

It keeps the item in your inventory but with qty 0, so you can keep details such
as pricing, when last sold, etc.

I also have been curious about this feature. I have used it for some common
parts so that I don't have to reprice when I have more to put into inventory.
But on seeing Yorbrick's mention of "last sold, etc" I am wondering if there
are other ways I could be using this feature. How else do some of you sellers
out there use the Retain After Sold feature?

HI there - I think you will find an awful lot of stores don't use it due
to its effect on new lot notifications. If you retain it as 0 quantity and then
add some stock that does not go down as a notify.

Thee entire way BL handles inventory needs a rethink - but that isn't really
going to happen - we do not use it and keep all our stats offline. That eliminates
the issues with BL attempting to do it and also allows us to replace standard
items with new quantities and get a notify out for that.

Unfortunately, stores that sell across platforms need to retain, in order to
sync their inventory. So I'm pretty much stuck with not having notifications.
Not really fair, so I'm considering deleting and reuploading my inventory
sometime, but I'm not entirely sure that lets me keep my lot IDs.

It absolutely does not. Lot id's are unique to part/colour/condition and
if that is removed and then recreated it is a new lot id. That is an absolute.
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 10, 2019 08:39
 Subject: Re: Retain after sold out?
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 Topic: Selling
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
Member Since Contact Type Status
Aug 12, 2008 Contact Member Seller
Buying Privileges - OKSelling Privileges - OK
Store: CalsBricks
In Selling, Huskers1236 writes:
  In Selling, calsbricks writes:
  In Selling, nologolego writes:
  In Selling, yorbrick writes:
  In Selling, Sadler_Bricks writes:
  Can I get the exact meaning of

Retain after sold out???

It keeps the item in your inventory but with qty 0, so you can keep details such
as pricing, when last sold, etc.

I also have been curious about this feature. I have used it for some common
parts so that I don't have to reprice when I have more to put into inventory.
But on seeing Yorbrick's mention of "last sold, etc" I am wondering if there
are other ways I could be using this feature. How else do some of you sellers
out there use the Retain After Sold feature?

HI there - I think you will find an awful lot of stores don't use it due
to its effect on new lot notifications. If you retain it as 0 quantity and then
add some stock that does not go down as a notify.

Thee entire way BL handles inventory needs a rethink - but that isn't really
going to happen - we do not use it and keep all our stats offline. That eliminates
the issues with BL attempting to do it and also allows us to replace standard
items with new quantities and get a notify out for that.

The loss of notification is my biggest issue with it. I use the feature on any
parts that I think are going to be a staple in my inventory. Searching through
my inventory to re-list parts is a lot quicker than going through the entire
library of parts on Bricklink.

Agreed but we rarely use Bricklink when listing - everything we do is in Brickstock
and that is much, much easier for adding/altering inventory. As we said this
part of the system is functional but needs re-thinking. I don't really know
why I keep saying that as BL are not going to make changes to the classic site
- we were advised of that at Brickwold by their head of development Marvin Park,
who also acts as the CEO.

Brickstock, also needs work but it is far eaeier to use than Bricklink for adding
inventory and making adjustments.
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 10, 2019 08:34
 Subject: Re: Retain after sold out?
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 Topic: Selling
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
Member Since Contact Type Status
Aug 12, 2008 Contact Member Seller
Buying Privileges - OKSelling Privileges - OK
Store: CalsBricks
In Selling, nologolego writes:
  In Selling, calsbricks writes:
  In Selling, nologolego writes:
  In Selling, yorbrick writes:
  In Selling, Sadler_Bricks writes:
  Can I get the exact meaning of

Retain after sold out???

It keeps the item in your inventory but with qty 0, so you can keep details such
as pricing, when last sold, etc.

I also have been curious about this feature. I have used it for some common
parts so that I don't have to reprice when I have more to put into inventory.
But on seeing Yorbrick's mention of "last sold, etc" I am wondering if there
are other ways I could be using this feature. How else do some of you sellers
out there use the Retain After Sold feature?

HI there - I think you will find an awful lot of stores don't use it due
to its effect on new lot notifications. If you retain it as 0 quantity and then
add some stock that does not go down as a notify.

Thee entire way BL handles inventory needs a rethink - but that isn't really
going to happen - we do not use it and keep all our stats offline. That eliminates
the issues with BL attempting to do it and also allows us to replace standard
items with new quantities and get a notify out for that.

Thanks for your reply. Your answer brings up another question I have been curious
about - the notification feature. How do other sellers use it and is it helpful?
I generally add some parts every day and I do not send out notifications until
I get a fairly large number of items built up. My thinking is that a buyer will
be more inclined to take a look if there are more items on the notification.
Also I don't want to spam my fellow Bricklinkers. Not sure if this approach
is effective or not. I would be interested to hear how other sellers use notifications
and to what effect.

We wait till we have over 100 new lots before we send out notifies. Over our
8.5 years here we have achieved about an 8% return on the notifies to visitors
to orders basis, so we feel it is worthwhile, despite the system being flawed
in how it works. But not going to go into that here.
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 10, 2019 07:37
 Subject: Re: Retain after sold out?
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 Topic: Selling
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
Member Since Contact Type Status
Aug 12, 2008 Contact Member Seller
Buying Privileges - OKSelling Privileges - OK
Store: CalsBricks
In Selling, nologolego writes:
  In Selling, yorbrick writes:
  In Selling, Sadler_Bricks writes:
  Can I get the exact meaning of

Retain after sold out???

It keeps the item in your inventory but with qty 0, so you can keep details such
as pricing, when last sold, etc.

I also have been curious about this feature. I have used it for some common
parts so that I don't have to reprice when I have more to put into inventory.
But on seeing Yorbrick's mention of "last sold, etc" I am wondering if there
are other ways I could be using this feature. How else do some of you sellers
out there use the Retain After Sold feature?

HI there - I think you will find an awful lot of stores don't use it due
to its effect on new lot notifications. If you retain it as 0 quantity and then
add some stock that does not go down as a notify.

Thee entire way BL handles inventory needs a rethink - but that isn't really
going to happen - we do not use it and keep all our stats offline. That eliminates
the issues with BL attempting to do it and also allows us to replace standard
items with new quantities and get a notify out for that.
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 9, 2019 10:48
 Subject: Re: More stockrooms!
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 Topic: Suggestions
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
Member Since Contact Type Status
Aug 12, 2008 Contact Member Seller
Buying Privileges - OKSelling Privileges - OK
Store: CalsBricks
In Suggestions, Teup writes:
  In Suggestions, calsbricks writes:
   We won't be signing up for xp either - it isn't aimed at our type of
store - its target is a large one - the 'Soccer Moms' so to speak who
want a set for little Johnny for xmas and do not need the complications of Bricklink
to hamper them.

(...)

  Apparently xp requires Instant Checkout (not a problem for some), also requires
Paypal for Marketplaces (Again not a problem for some) but little else is known
about it.

And this is where it goes totally wrong. On the one hand, they seem to aim at
the broad casual consumer market, on the other hand, they force a highly specific
online-business-insiders-only payment method. If I would go to the local supermarket
and ask random people if they have bought something online last week, lots of
them are going to say "yes". If I ask them if they used PayPal, pretty much all
of them are going to respond "what's PayPal?"
And then I haven't even touched on PayPal's plan to dramatically increase
transaction fees by next month, which ruins their competitiveness compared to
other payment methods (but they are trying to circumvent the free market principle
by forcing sellers not to disclose the fees to buyers in as many countries as
possible, and encouraging the buyers to ask for PayPal because it is "free")

If they will implement a relevant payment method, then I will participate in
XP (for the Dutch market, the 4th largest country on Bricklink, this is iDeal).
If they don't, I won't. I'm done trying to make Bricklink see reason.
iDeal is one of the main reasons that I set up my own webshop, and now that I
have it, I don't really care what Bricklink does anymore. If they are not
going to add iDeal, that's just going to be more Dutch consumers for me in
my webshop

Hi Teup

Never heard of Ideal - is that Dutch only? Irrespective of that the business
model of xp does not suit our store and we wouldn't adopt it whatever happens.
We are not into selling large one-off sets at bargain prices - ours is a part
shop from top to bottom. Our orders average several hundred items and over 50
lots - that isn't going to be bought by a google search result which is what
we believe BL are trying to bring about. Instant checkout doesn't' work
for our store either and with over 40,000 items without dimensions in the catalogue
it is fair to say, probably never will - it is not designed well around shipping
methods and was not built to be adaptable (zip code pricing in the USA - The
largest market on BL), volume and weight based in the UK and most of Europe.
We have 14 different box sizes 3 large letters, and 11 small parcels, we never
ship a medium parcel as that is too costly so we are using multiple small parcels
to deal with weights over 2Kg and yes I know this could be set up but what a
hassle a different delivery method for each box type (each box has a different
tare).

We also have no concept of Bricklink dealing with our funds by way of Marketplace.
Far too many things against it for us to even consider it,((we know they have
claimed they are not into that, but who knows what might happen if we all give
them the right to do that)). but then it might suit some - that will only be
found out as and when they launch it, as unfortunately no communications is the
norm for the site - so no one will know what it is about til they launch it and
based on previous launches it will be some time before it would be 'bug free'
so to speak.

IC, in our view, needed to be regionalised and much more flexible in its design.
It works for some and that is great, and not for others, which is a shame, but
that is how they have done it. No talking, no discussion, no customer agreement,
here it is - if you don't like it tough, - that is what you are getting.
And the funny thing is BO launched with it and it is much smoother over there
and far fewer complaints about missing bits.

I can say without reservation that we will not be adopting xp at any time.
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 9, 2019 07:14
 Subject: Re: More stockrooms!
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 Topic: Suggestions
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
Member Since Contact Type Status
Aug 12, 2008 Contact Member Seller
Buying Privileges - OKSelling Privileges - OK
Store: CalsBricks
In Suggestions, Teup writes:
  In Suggestions, nologolego writes:
  But most importantly, it is sad to think we have no pilot or crew for Bricklink.
Is it fated to crash and burn eventually? Do we need to get our parachutes
ready?

I think it will be ok I am more afraid of stupid changes than of Bricklink's
inertia. I'm not going to participate in this new Bricklink XP they're
developing, and I wish they hadn't come up with that idea. Anyway, as long
as Bricklink is just asleep it's fine by me. It's not dying, just sleeping
It generates money so if anything would happen to it, even the least interested
management would take measures keep it running.

We don't know either but think it may be okay. Many businesses fail because
they do not listen to their customers. That is a serious matter here, but they
have the market pull - thanks to Dan and all the excellent volunteers they have
had over the years. Customers
have a strange habit of going where the products are and BL is probably at the
top of the tree for that.

We won't be signing up for xp either - it isn't aimed at our type of
store - its target is a large one - the 'Soccer Moms' so to speak who
want a set for little Johnny for xmas and do not need the complications of Bricklink
to hamper them. In MP's presentation at Brickworld last year he suggested
an Amazon/Ebay model (we don't know if they have achieved that or not and
his throwaway comments about we will continue to support the classic site don't
fill many of us with enthusiasm, but those are the issues that are known at
present.
We were also informed some time ago that Phase I release was due to come out
in March ((and it didn't make it - rumour has it that Phase 2 will be out
at the end of the year)) so we still have plenty of time to contemplate this
radical change.

Storerooms - we don't use them either but we know people that do. It is,
however, unlikely that you will get any changes to the classic site as MP also
announced nothing more will be done on the classic site due to the fact they
feel xp is the future , they don't understand the 'spaghetti code',
and their
early changes were not met with enthusiasm.

Apparently xp requires Instant Checkout (not a problem for some), also requires
Paypal for Marketplaces (Again not a problem for some) but little else is known
about it. I think generally there is a lack of interest in this latest tangent.
It may appeal to some but large part stores may find it diametrically opposed
to the way they operate. There have been, since the announcement, not many threads
about it so everything may have changed or it may be exactly as they outlined,
we won't really know til it is released, it appears.

Not really convinced that is the best way to get new software accepted and 'taken
up' but it isn't our business to run it is theirs - we are only here
to pay the bills .


How about this for a throwaway line - might not be our (Community) business to
run but then again, maybe it should be
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 8, 2019 11:33
 Subject: Tiered Pricing issue
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 Topic: Problem
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
Member Since Contact Type Status
Aug 12, 2008 Contact Member Seller
Buying Privileges - OKSelling Privileges - OK
Store: CalsBricks
A little while ago we mentioned the issue surrounding tiered pricing and how
it disappears after being set up when you part out a set or add additional inventory.
We believe we have found a really simple solution to it and it really doesn't
require all that much from development.

When you go into your my inventory pages and click on edit more you get a screen
which if called in the part outs or adding inventory could save the loss of tiered
pricing. So just as you can click on summary in the My Inventory page and show
the price guide below each item, you could have the edit more screen pop up when
you are reviewing your additions to your inventory before you post.

As that screen already exists and has both the remarks field and the tiered pricing
schedule you could easily either ignore or update it to fit the circumstances.

I think that makes sense. Interesting to hear from Bricklink development on this.

If this were implemented it could be ignored by those who do not use tiered pricing
and used by those that do.

See screen image below
 
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 8, 2019 03:30
 Subject: Re: Bricstock Pictures
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 Topic: Related Software
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
Member Since Contact Type Status
Aug 12, 2008 Contact Member Seller
Buying Privileges - OKSelling Privileges - OK
Store: CalsBricks
In Related Software, crazybrickman writes:
  I just downloaded Brickstock and when I try and add parts the thumbnails/pictures
do not download. Any ideas why they would not download?

Hi there

Have you run the update database command?

Go to Extras - update database

It only takes a few seconds to run

We have no problems with the pictures loading.
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 6, 2019 00:12
 Subject: Re: Is Bricklink in decline ?
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 Topic: Problem
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
Member Since Contact Type Status
Aug 12, 2008 Contact Member Seller
Buying Privileges - OKSelling Privileges - OK
Store: CalsBricks
In Problem, BrickAThon writes:
  In Problem, calsbricks writes:
  As most of you are aware we keep track of the number of orders that are received
by a group of 13 UK stores. We are in our third year of monitoring this and for
the quarter June to August things are not looking very positive.

Our orders are higher than normal but the overall value of those orders is less
than a third of what they are normally - so more work and less cash - that is
not a good sign.

Have a look at the chart - are you seeing a similar or different pattern.

Might be nice of the other regions e.g. USA, Netherlands and Germany chimed in
to see if this is across the board or another region is making up for the current
trend.

While I don't have specific statistics, I do have a good memory for this
type of thing. When I started selling back in 2003, it was small...it started
to ramp up, as I ramped up, around 2006. Through 2009/2010, sales were phenomenal,
and then they started to fall. Things were tight from 2011/2012-2015, and in
2016 things really started to blast off the charts. The last couple of years
were good, and then this year really started to trend downward, drastically.
It's not just me, other sellers are telling me the same thing (friends who
have been in this business just as long if not longer).

I can say that some of my positives I have related to new stock, or reopening
after moves, etc., but not everything. In the 2006-2008 era, I recall getting
over 100 positive feedback a week, and shipping out at least 150+ orders a week.
I know a lot of other sellers had the same positive outcome that we were having.
But, time moves on, more competition comes in, things get spread out thinner
and thinner - and we've seen this with us and other shops we watch.

I've found that there are always ups and downs with this business, and you
just have to buckled down and ride it out, if you can.

I'm hopeful things will start to change in a positive manner, again, as we
all need it - but, without a better looking site, easier to use options, etc.,
it won't ever get as mainstream as it should be to really bring in the bigger
traffic. As such, I'm pondering BrickOwl again...as something has to change.

Tracy

Good morning and thank you for sharing your thoughts. We certainly share them
and our trends pretty much follow those that you mentioned (for the period we
have been on the site).

We also agree wholeheartedly with your comments about the way forward. Thank
you again
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 4, 2019 06:41
 Subject: Re: Green messages all messed up.
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 Topic: Problem
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
Member Since Contact Type Status
Aug 12, 2008 Contact Member Seller
Buying Privileges - OKSelling Privileges - OK
Store: CalsBricks
In Problem, firestar246 writes:
  The little messages with green background, such as "this message has been sent"
and "coupon created" are messed up with the code showing. The coupon message
was so messed up you couldn't even click on the "view or edit this coupon"
anymore.

Another one - when you do mass feedback post instead of a nice display showing
which orders are being posted it now all runs together.

Does anyone ever test these things before development puts them onto the live
site ???
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 3, 2019 13:22
 Subject: Re: Per-part profit tracking program?
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 Topic: Selling
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
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Store: CalsBricks
In Selling, Golbsco writes:
  In Selling, calsbricks writes:
  Forgive me for butting in, but that isn't really the best way to determine
your profit on your items. Firstly the cost price of your stock should be based
on the average cost price of those items. So lets say you add 100 at 10p each,
then you get a good deal and have another 100 at 8p - average cost price is now
9p, Bricklink doesn't cater at all for inventory management capabilities
like this and we have found the cost price field to be not worth the effort.
All of our costing/profit calculations are done in our offline system as there
we keep stock values by part.

Thanks for your input Calsbricks

Could i ask you some questions about your offline system? I don't want to
pry too much, but it must be the vehicle which allows you to manage almost 1
million parts without going completely mad. I've looked at your store a number
of times over the years and wondered how it's at all possible.
-Is your system scratch built and coded to tailor your specific need, or is it
an enormous advanced spreadsheet?
-Does it have virtual SKUs that stock is assigned to? (i ask because my SKUs
only exist if something is in them, leaving me now knowing how organised my draws
are)
-Does it calculate the exact profit per piece that is sold from your inventory?
-Does it generate data on trends and demand for colours, categories, themes,
etc?
-Can you directly import orders into it to save manual data input?

Answer as much or as little as you like, im not asking you to spill all the
secrets, but these are the questions im asking myself if I was to build a similar
system. Any info is greatly appreciated but I understand if you would rather
not give info to another seller in your region

Hi there and thank you for y our comments.

I will answer as much of the questions you raised as I can.

Scratch built - yes
Coded by us - yes (Not a spreadsheet although we have feeds to spreadsheets for
charting purposes
The inventory system is constructed on a partno/colour and condition basis (That
is what makes up the unique code that we post to. We started by downloading the
Bricklink catalogue, many years ago and then converted that to our product file
- so we kind of have a miniature catalogue which is fed by orders in and orders
out as well as inventory adjustments.
We believe it does calculate exact profit per piece but cannot be 100% certain
about that.
It will, if we ask it produce data for parts, categories, families, colours,
and condition either in summary or detail form. It also exports that data to
Excel for more agility and features.
The order side is a bit more complicated still, as the formats coming from Bricklink
are cumbersome, do not have images associated with them and we do, so order input
is a bit of a combination of manual and import - but it works and is not too
long winded. We manage with it but if I ever get my developers involved I will
get that sorted.

I used access as the tool and had a colleague tidy up the code where I came unstuck.

Hope that helps and answers your questions and good luck if you decide to go
that way.
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 3, 2019 10:55
 Subject: Re: Per-part profit tracking program?
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 Topic: Selling
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
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In Selling, Teup writes:
  In Selling, Golbsco writes:
  Recently i've had this thought on my mind that i'm unable to truly calculate
exactly how much profit is made through sales without manually tracking every
part in my inventory.
So far i've been calculating profit by simply totaling sales and subtracting
expenses. This gets the job done for tax purposes but not much else.

I would like to be able to track exactly how much profit is made on each part,
for example i can easily calculate the cost per part by simply dividing the cost
of a set by part quantity then subtracting that average part cost from the price
of the part sold. While this is absolutely possible to do manually (and i think
i have a system in mind to accomplish this) it requires immense amounts of work
and is not viable for scaling up.

This then gives data on best and worst selling parts, and could hopefully expand
to generating data on demand and trends.

Preferably i would be able to import orders directly into the system too.

Short of designing a program to achieve this and perhaps getting it created -
Does something like this already exist?
What do some of the larger sellers do to solve these issues?

I apologise if i haven't described this very well but i'm not exactly
sure what it is im after, which brings me to the forums to gather some info and
feedback.

Hmm.. dividing the cost price equally over all parts.. That begs the question
if considering a minifig head the same cost price as a round brick is really
what you want.

I would much rather take the profit ratio (say, 2x) of the entire part-out, and
then divide the selling price of the item by the profit ratio. That way, all
items have a cost that is proportional to their selling price. If you bought
a set for 10, part it out for 20, a minifig head sells for 1, the cost price
of that minfig head is 0.50. For another part in that same set that sells for
0.10, the cost price was 0.05. This way it makes more sense to me, because otherwise
it will seem as if you will make loads of profit on some orders and hardly any
profit on other orders, even though they came from exactly the same part-out.

Hi Teup

Forgive me for butting in, but that isn't really the best way to determine
your profit on your items. Firstly the cost price of your stock should be based
on the average cost price of those items. So lets say you add 100 at 10p each,
then you get a good deal and have another 100 at 8p - average cost price is now
9p, Bricklink doesn't cater at all for inventory management capabilities
like this and we have found the cost price field to be not worth the effort.
All of our costing/profit calculations are done in our offline system as there
we keep stock values by part.

As both our stores add lots of items (some unique and some topping up shallow
stock) you really do have to have a measure of inventory control to get an accurate
picture.

If you part out a set which is 3 x cost price and then a little later another
of the same set which is only 2 times cost - you have to manually remember all
the items which were in the first part out and adjust those manually (Not really
possible or viable) but that is how Bricklink expects you to do that.

The costing element here is not fit for purpose, to be honest and has needed
major revamping since it was developed. But like most developments needed it
isn't going to happen.

When we started all those years ago and were adding stock, we tried to use the
cost field in a similar way to what you are describing and it simply was no where
near accurate enough and actually gave a false impression of profitability per
item.

Again, sorry to but in but costing is a really important thing to me (and our
store) We take it very seriously and have put effort into getting it as right
as possible.
Much better to have a proper inventory system and let it do the work for you.
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 3, 2019 07:31
 Subject: Re: Is Bricklink in decline ?
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 Topic: Problem
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
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In Problem, Bricks_NW_UK writes:
  In Problem, Heartbricker writes:
  In Problem, Brick.Door writes:
  Just looking at the number of orders processed, Bricklink is still growing.

Average # of orders per day was
3600 in 2016
4000 in 2017
4450 in 2018
4800 for the previous 12 months.

The annual rate of growth has slowed from 20-22% in 2016 to 10-12% today. This
happened abruptly in the first quarter of 2017 although I'm not sure why.

Despite the lack of improvements to the website, it seems to have the inertia
to keep going. I don't have numbers for BrickOwl, but I expect it is growing
much more rapidly as is the AFOL hobby.

And I'm sure that as long as it is growing, Bricklink management will look
at the numbers and say "Hey let's do another fun project like Mosaik and
not those boring seller tools."



  
Most useful answer so far on this thread.
Those are statistics that reflect more globally and are more reliable in answering
the OPs original question "is BL in decline?" basesd on your number the answer
is NO (thankfully) - at least not on a global scale.

BL has really stepped up in the past year/s to help bring more traffic in.
Sure, with more traffic there's more obstacles to overcome and those can
be momentarily frustrating to users but the big picture shows more traffic, more
buyers, more orders, a groundbreaking partnership with TLG thus: more opportunity.
I have to say that based on recent dealings i've had with BL admin i've
seen nothing but honest & fair and excellent service.

I found the fact that the overflow/extra part remaining from the AFOL project
was returned to LEGO rather than pad the pockets of BL by selling these parts
was a huge show of commitment, respect and loyalty to the sellers here- a truly
admirable move and for that all sellers should be grateful to work with such
team.

Any business that has been on the incline has had bugs and obstacles to deal
with weather you manage a BL shop or manage Bricklink corp.
we are all growing together and should show as much respect and patience to those
who serve us as the respect and patience we'd like to get from our customers
when we provide a less than perfect service.
Peace to all.

Morning to all

I have been following this thread with great interest.

As we have only been operating for 20 months, it is difficult to look at what
has or hasn't happened historically. We are growing month by month and we
want to continue to grow, even though we are a small store (just a small family
concern)

In my day job, I could not operate without up to date IT systems (ironically
as part if my job I purchase REAL BRICKS!)

When our old purchase & invoice system was out of date, we installed a new one,
but kept all the data and was able to access it all more efficiently.

Same goes with the SharePoint system we build, again we rebuilt it using the
existing data but made it more effective & slicker.

This is really where BL needs to go. The data held is superb and amazing, but
it's functionality is dated, slow and in reality designed to work when IT
coding was much more complicated.

I get frustrated because I cannot interrogate my selling data to see what has
sold, when, in what quantities and so forth. Some people may not want that, but
to move forward you simply need data to improve.

On a separate note to move forward BL needs to have a greater presence.

There is no advertising, no external promotion! It is like a big secret to AFOL
buyers.

Why no adverts on YouTube, no sponsored videos.

Every time you click on a Lego YouTube video BL should be there, subliminal and
real advertising.

It isn't difficult and doesn't cost a fortune.

IF the owner is serious about developing the brand then this is where some of
the AFOL programme cash should be going.

Just my thoughts
Steve

Morning and thanks for adding your thoughts to the thread.
We have been keeping stats on the site (and sales) since day 1, bearly 9 years
ago now and definitely wanted BL to provide us with data such as you mention.
We had hoped that would have been included in sales metrics within sellers tools
but, alas, that has been removed from the roadmap with no real explanation offered.

As far as this thread goes there are a couple of things that need to be understood.
62Bricks has added his thoughts and calls the quarter drop in orders not significant.
That is his opinion not ours or the stores within our group. For the last three
years orders during the Jun - Aug period have been higher and that is why we
asked the question - we didn't claim Bricklink was in decline - we simply
asked for others views.

We have them now and it appears apart from growth of the site slowing down there
is still growth.

The real factor, of course is not the number of orders you receive but the value
of those orders and whether or not you as a store are growing. We are but not
everyone in our group is.

There are lots of factors which are affecting things in the UK - perhaps differently
to other regions, but the lack of overall data to analyse is not helpful, as
you have already mentioned.

Looking at the chart in a different way - things are flat, so just maybe our
region is having more external factors contributing to this drop than others.
There are just so many factors to take into consideration eg. size of store,
variety of items, pricing, customer service etc. etc. and of course we have found
orders are up in our store but value is not anywhere near what it has been. So
at present more work for less value - not a good sign for most business.

But to be fair the UK now has its first 1M + stores and others are investing
heavily as well.

It would be very helpful if Bricklink themselves got into the numbers game with
regional stats as well as more meaningful sales data. We are sure they have other
things on their agenda like xp and whatever other tangent they can come up with,
but you know something you never, or rarely, get what you don't ask for,
except on Bricklink (and that is not demeaning the admins in any way as they
do not have the final say on what is being done.
 
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 2, 2019 12:48
 Subject: Re: Is Bricklink in decline ?
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 Topic: Problem
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
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Store: CalsBricks
In Problem, Heartbricker writes:
  In Problem, calsbricks writes:
  As most of you are aware we keep track of the number of orders that are received
by a group of 13 UK stores. We are in our third year of monitoring this and for
the quarter June to August things are not looking very positive.

Our orders are higher than normal but the overall value of those orders is less
than a third of what they are normally - so more work and less cash - that is
not a good sign.

Have a look at the chart - are you seeing a similar or different pattern.

Might be nice of the other regions e.g. USA, Netherlands and Germany chimed in
to see if this is across the board or another region is making up for the current
trend.

Seems like there's too many variables that you're not accounting for:
-first and foremost: your numbers are regional to a cut of 13 stores in close
proximity in a region that doesn't have the highest concentration of buyers/sellers
(not the lowest either).
but to make a claim about BL in decline based on a small sliver of it's market
is sensationalizing.
-Second: are you accounting for sales vs. store size? a store that had a million
pieces last year and has 2 million this year or half a million this year should
see sales in the proportion of store size- are you factoring that in the chart?

Our sales in the past 3 months have been 30%-50% higher than last year but our
store has more items than previous years so that is expected.

We also attribute our increased success to our LACK of investment (of time) in
charts and the forum and increased attention to our OWN business rather than
Bricklink or it's users.

Don't get me wrong, the forum and the community are a fantastic feature for
sellers on BL but just as with any other social platform- if you spend too much
time on it then you may hurt your personal or professional goals.

Lastly: it would seem easy to be able to monitor global sales (by order count
not volume) simply by looking at order numbers at the begining of every month
in the last bunch of years to get rough numbers of decline/incline in BL sales.
it may not account for $ volume but it would be just as perfect as making overall
claim based on the experience of 3 handful of sellers.
Best wishes to all!

I think you may have misread our original thread. We asked the question is Bricklink
in decline - we didn't say it was or wasn't. We showed a small element
of statistical data which we gather to show that 13 of the UK's stores are
seeing a drop in order numbers - we cannot speak about values other than ours.
Yes it is a small cut of data and that is why we asked others to chip in. So
far it looks like a regional thing. BTW the UKMis the 3rd biggest market after
USA and Germany and followed by the Netherlands (as far as Bricklink goes) and
that is a fair representation, we believe.

Our time as a store is divided amongst those of us that work in it. I certainly
do not use order processing time to create charts and put threads in the forum.
That is spare time and we do like to see what others are thinking.

We haven't experienced any lack of investment in time for the other activities
outside of normal stores work. In the 8 years as a store we have maintained double
digit growth per year and hopefully that will continue this year,

As for monitoring global sales that we leave to qwertyboy - he has the means
to do that with reliable accuracy and it is not something we are looking at at
the moment. We are really interested in the UK as that is where the majority
of our business comes from. Shipping costs outside of the UK have all but killed
non-domestic sales.
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 2, 2019 12:34
 Subject: Re: Is Bricklink in decline ?
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calsbricks (5774)

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In Problem, calebfishn writes:
  In Problem, calsbricks writes:
  As most of you are aware we keep track of the number of orders that are received
by a group of 13 UK stores. We are in our third year of monitoring this and for
the quarter June to August things are not looking very positive.

Our orders are higher than normal but the overall value of those orders is less
than a third of what they are normally - so more work and less cash - that is
not a good sign.

Have a look at the chart - are you seeing a similar or different pattern.

Might be nice of the other regions e.g. USA, Netherlands and Germany chimed in
to see if this is across the board or another region is making up for the current
trend.

I am not sure how a decline would be measured.

However, my own situation is that I get new (zero feedback) buyers every week.
This past August is the best I ever had, with 2019 shaping up to be my best
year yet in number of sales, and value of sales.

That is anecdotal, of course and may reflect various factors, such as I increased
my inventory significantly. Or something else.

My own view of the biggest negative impact I've experienced is from the increasing
cost of international shipping. Surely it has reduced my orders from outside
North America.

I think you would need more data from a larger sample to give you a clear package
of whether there has been a decline, and if so, what it looks like.

HI there and thank you for joining the thread. Interesting you are seeing your
best year - maybe this is a regional thing (I am pretty sure it is as the overall
number of orders is not decreasing according to the last charts from Niek.)

Okay - we had a very warm summer - we have Brexit on our hands to deal with and
I suppose there are other reasons as well - people have placed more orders in
our shop than ever before but they have been much lower in value than normal.
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 1, 2019 14:10
 Subject: Re: Is Bricklink in decline ?
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calsbricks (5774)

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In Problem, StarBrick writes:
  In Problem, calsbricks writes:
  
That is a significant drop - where have all the orders gone?

Did you cross check the number of (UK) stores in 2017/18 compared to 2019?

I did.

No uk Stores

Jun 2017 - 1134
Jul 2017 - 1094
Aug 2017 - 1082

Jun 2018 - 966
Jul 2018 - 941
Aug 2018 - 956

Jun 2019 - 957
Jul 2019 - 966
Aug 2019 - 987

Those are mean figure taken from the starting day of the month through the end
of the month. So we have fewer stores and fewer orders.
 Author: calsbricks View Messages Posted By calsbricks
 Posted: Sep 1, 2019 14:05
 Subject: Re: Is Bricklink in decline ?
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calsbricks (5774)

Location:  United Kingdom, England
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Store: CalsBricks
In Problem, 62Bricks writes:
  In Problem, calsbricks writes:
  As most of you are aware we keep track of the number of orders that are received
by a group of 13 UK stores. We are in our third year of monitoring this and for
the quarter June to August things are not looking very positive.

Our orders are higher than normal but the overall value of those orders is less
than a third of what they are normally - so more work and less cash - that is
not a good sign.

Have a look at the chart - are you seeing a similar or different pattern.

Might be nice of the other regions e.g. USA, Netherlands and Germany chimed in
to see if this is across the board or another region is making up for the current
trend.


There are accepted methods to determine if a set of data shows a pattern that
are more reliable than throwing up charts in public forums. You can use any basic
spreadsheet program (like the one you used for the chart) to calculate a trend
line. You can also use the same program to calculate the standard deviation of
the sample and then use the commonly accepted method of looking to see if any
data points fall outside two standard deviations from the mean. That gives you
an idea of whether any one data point is within the range where you would naturally
expect it - whether it is a statistical outlier.

Plotting your data gives the chart below. The trend line is practically flat.
The data varies widely, but only one month - December 2017 - is outside the 95%
range. And it is such an anomaly that I would seriously investigate whether that
data point is accurate, or I would go looking for some external factor that caused
such a sharp drop.

So in answer to your question of whether Bricklink is in decline, your data does
not show a declining trend over the period of time you measured.

Hello there and thank you for your comments, although I must admit I am slightly
confused by its contents. We were talking about a 3 month period over a three
year period . June through August for 2019 compared to June through August in
2017 and 2018. Not sure where December 2017 comes into it.

Well aware of Excel's charting capabilities but not trying to take this too
deep. That is why we said we are not bending, just presenting. For the quarter
in question sales are down considerably from the previous two years. That is
not statistics it is simple facts. The fact that each month of that period for
this year is also well below previous years might mean it is just that time of
year or it could have various meanings.

The point of our thread was to see if anyone was experiencing a similar pattern
or the opposite.

As I also pointed out, several times in this thread, Niek (qwertyboy) keeps overall
stats for number of orders through Bricklink on a daily basis. An up to date
chart from him might just show orders are running normally through the site -
then again it might not.

As we are one of the 7 stores where order numbers are up this year (From our
group of 13 stores) compared to previous (But order value per order is only a
fraction of what it used to be, things seem to be changing.

Anyway, thank you for your thoughts - your logic is sound, as usual, but I think
we are on different hymn sheets.

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