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Where is Revere Ware headed?

About two months ago, we did a post tossing out the theory that Corelle Brands (which World Kitchen, who owns the Revere Ware brand, became last year) looked like they might be preparing to dump the Revere Ware brand.  Here is a good indication of why.

Consider their organic search ranking for revereware.com.

Now look at ours.

That’s right, the big company that actually sells the cookware only has 4 times the organic search traffic as we, the little guys that just sell a few replacement parts, do, and going down.

We one multiplied our annual revenue times 4, their revenue would not amount to much at all.

I can see why they might consider dumping the brand.

It does look like they tried to increase their traffic based on paid search around the time that Corelle Brands bought World Kitchen.

But this could be just to drive traffic to their other brands as well.

 

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Measuring the value of our parts, part 2

We’ve discussed the economics of small batch manufacturing and the comparative pricing of other similar mass-manufactured parts.  By that measure, what we sell might look expensive (but is justified given how much it costs to manufacture in smaller quantities).

There is also another way to comparatively view the cost of our products against what they might cost if we didn’t provide them.  Consider this eBay auction for 21 new-old-stock (NOS) replacement parts:

They are asking a starting bid price of $199 + $12.65 shipping for all these parts.  And with few such new parts available, they would probably sell in the $300-$400 range.  On our site, the equivalent parts would cost $149.79 (and shipping would be free), a 29% discount over the starting bid of that auction, and probably less than 50% of what they would sell for.

The alternative of scarcity and the pricing pressure it puts on whatever stock of something in relatively high demand remains, is something to consider when you are looking to replace something in the vintage category.

On the other hand, I do often notice that people listing items on eBay think that just by adding the word “rare” to the auction title, they can demand a higher price.  Demand is the other part of this equation; without demand, rarity along doesn’t justify value.

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Competing against ourselves on Google Adwords

If you regularly read our blog posts, you know that, in addition to writing about topics that are helpful for owners and fans of Revere Ware cookware, we also like to write about our experience running an online business.

Today’s topic is Google Adwords, something which is pretty essential for running almost any online business.  If you don’t get traffic, you can’t make sales.

Let’s start with this graph that shows the average cost per click we’ve paid since we started the business, about 8 years worth of clicks.

One thing to realize is that, when it comes to most of the keywords we advertise for, like “revere ware parts” or “revere ware handle” we are the only business providing these parts.  You might think that there is little to no competition for the Adwords phrases we pay for, and you would be right.  By any standard, the amount we pay per click is tiny.  Some businesses will pay tens or hundreds of dollars for a single click, while we spend mere pennies.

But still, a curious thing has happened over the last 8 years … our cost per click has continue to trend up.  (There are a couple of anomalies to ignore.  The large spike near the start of the graph was us weeding out keywords that were far too costly for our business, and the downward trend towards the end of the graph before it started going up again was us again weeding out the most costly of the phrases we paid for.)

How is this possible given that we are the only business that does what we do?  Well, we recently discovered the likely reason.  Check out this email we recently got from Google.

Well that’s interesting, we are mostly competing with Amazon.com for keyword phrases.  The strange thing about this is that, well, we are the ones selling our parts on Amazon.com.  So, it appears that Amazon.com, in order to move more of the business for our parts to their website rather than to ours, is purchasing the same phrases as us.

What does this mean to our business?  At one level, not much.  Our net margins of selling through our own website and using a fulfillment center to ship the orders, versus selling on Amazon.com and using Fulfillment by Amazon to fulfill the orders is about the same.  Well, mostly.  Take a look at the graph of our margins over the last 13 months.

As you can see, our website margins (in blue) are right in line with the Amazon margins (in red), except for the last two months.  Our fulfillment service has a certain fixed cost for using the service (base cost that doesn’t change every month) and then a variable cost per order (handling, packaging materials, postage).  If our website sales get too low in any month (in the summer months we do about half the volume per month than in the winter months) then there aren’t enough order such that the shipping charges sufficiently offset the fixed costs.  This affect is smaller if you consider the full year, but, if the proportion of our sales that are sold through Amazon.com continues to go up, eventually it simply won’t be profitable for us to sell through our own website anymore; we will at some point start losing money on every order.   Selling through our own website is beneficial, as it allows us to keep much more in touch with our customers, and get direct feedback from them, than selling through Amazon.com, so that would be a shame.

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The seasonal nature of Revere Ware parts sales

Here is a graph of our sales for every year since we started.

This cyclical pattern appears in almost every way we measure our business.

  • Sales on our website
  • Total site traffic
  • Sales on Amazon.com
  • Google Adwords impressions and clicks
  • Number of Revere Ware related items for sale on eBay.

In retail sales, this is exactly what one would call a seasonal sales cycle.  From peak (December-January) to trough (June-July) is about double the sales.

With respect to our little part of the retail world, I’ve often wondered why people are twice as interested in Revere Ware related items around the holidays then during the summer and fall.

I have no idea what percentage of our replacement parts are purchased as gifts, vs people buying them for themselves.

In any event, it is in interesting factoid around our business we thought we would share.

 

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Finding Revere Ware on Ebay

A couple of years ago we started a website that collects all Revere Ware related listings on Ebay and separates them out by type, size, etc.  For example, if you are looking for a 7 inch lid, you can see all currently available lids on Ebay sorted by size.  We update the listings every 30 minutes so it always has up-do-date listings.

It wasn’t the prettiest of websites, but it worked well.  We recently did a complete overhaul of the site which makes it both more attractive and more effective.  For example, we offer a grid view and a list view.

If you are looking for vintage Revere Ware cookware, this is arguably the easiest way to find what you want.

We’ve also been tracking the number of listings of Revere Ware related items on Ebay and it continues to grow and grow, meaning there is more and more items available to select from. Here is the graph of the number of items listed since May 2009.

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More and more Revere Ware on Ebay

With almost one years worth of data on the total number of Revere Ware items for sale on Ebay every day, the total volume continues to go up.

Ebay volume

In contrast, the volume of Google searches for the keyword “revere ware” is fairly flat (except a spike over the holidays) over the same period of time.

Google searches

I presently have no theory on why the volume on Ebay continues to go up, almost doubling from a year ago.

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More Ebay Trends

I’ve been reporting on the trend of Revere Ware products listed on Ebay for some time, and the trend has been slowly rising, meaning more and more Revere Ware cookware is listed on Ebay. The holidays showed in interesting phenomenon.

Ebay count

The large dip just before the holidays could mean a couple of things. Perhaps people were snapping up Revere Ware via buy-it-now or regular auctions (less relists) or perhaps people took a break from listing their cookware because they were otherwise consumed with the holidays.

Post-holidays, the upward trend in listings seems to have resumed. Perhaps the availability of replacement parts (from us) has made Revere Ware more valuable so more people are listing their old cookware. 🙂

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The Revere Ware Community

We sell a fair amount of our parts through our website and Ebay, so Revere Ware fans are clearly online, but how Internet savvy are they?

Sadly, not that Internet savvy. Seems nobody is talking about Revere Ware on Twitter and Facebook has a sum total of zero groups related to Revere Ware.

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