How to Sell Singles after You Open a Trading Card Shop
Posted On 09 Apr 2012 / 4 Comments
You’ve put your business plan together. You’ve taken the time to scope out the perfect location. You’ve started working with a distributor to figure out which cards you are going to carry. And you've sent in your information to Upper Deck to become a Certified Diamond Dealer. But now it is time to think about how you plan on selling potentially the most important item in your inventory; the single card.
There are a variety of strategies when it comes to how you can best sell singles today and we are going to highlight the four most common ways:
Traditional – The traditional approach is to purchase display cases, organize cards by sports and put price tags on them. Most shops will run different specials on these cards to help move through inventory and replace it with new cards. Making sure you are changing up this inventory frequently is very important to giving your regular customers something new to see. It is important to make it relevant so if a player has an amazing game or string of games, make sure to get cards in of him in the display. In the off season for certain sports, most shop owners like to display legends that have mass appeal all year long. Keep it fresh and interesting and you can have some success here.
Finding quality display cases to show of the singles and memorabilia in your store is very important, but it can also be very expensive. It is vital that you plan for those costs in your business plan and try to find them at a good price.
There are a couple drawbacks with regard to the traditional approach however. First, you need to purchase the glass display cases which are certainly not cheap new, and can still be costly if you find them used on a website like eBay. A good way to find them for less is to try to find a jewelry store or card store that is going out of business and make them an offer. Craig’s List can also be a good source to locate someone selling display cases in your area. Another cost tied to this, although minimal is a label maker. You’ll likely want to have a dependable one so you can price and re-price singles on the fly while giving them a consistent look and quality presentation for your store.
eBay – There was a time when we saw eBay Stores popping up like crazy to list items for fans. With most of those retail stores going by the wayside, many shops will perform this service for their loyal customers now and also list their own items. While it is a good way to move through inventory, there can definitely be significant costs and hassle with regard to listing, shipping, getting payment, etc. If you decide to go this route, it is important to be very detailed and organized with everything you have going on. If you confuse shipments or don’t immediately ship items, it can result in negative feedback which can quickly affect the prices you get for new products. Many shops go with an approach of mixing the traditional with eBay for their approach on selling singles. Just make sure you do your due diligence with regard to new eBay tax regulations as they are always changing and you do not want to get hit with a big bill from the IRS at the end of the year.
Brick & mortar eBay stores have more or less gone by the wayside leaving an opportunity for hobby shop owners to offer consignment terms to their customers.
Beckett Marketplace & Checkoutmycards.com – There are other options besides eBay that really cater to the sports collectors where you can sell your singles. One of the tools most dealers have a lot of success using is the Beckett Marketplace. Listen to Beckett Media’s Dave Sliepka as he talks a little be about that and much more about why it makes sense to work with Beckett Media:
Another site to check out is relatively new, but they are getting some good traction with collectors and shops. They are called Checkoutmycards.com and you can find them at that same web address. We encourage new shops to check out both of these as some shops have really had some great success with them.
Bid Boards – I spent a little time with Rich at Valley Sports Cards to get a feel for something he does that brings the online auction experience into his shop with a bid board. Bid boards are a great way to encourage your customers to break sealed wax in your store and then put up cards they are not wild about keeping in their collection up for auction. The entire auction takes place in your store and can be a great way for taking a night that is ordinary slow and making an event out of it. Listen to what Rich shares about how he has been successful with a bid board in his shop:
As you’ve seen with the bid board concept, hobby shop owners are very creative with how they move through singles. They will be an important inventory item for you to sell, so it is critical you have a good strategy for how you will sell them. If you are a shop owner with other tips on how to best sell singles, feel free to share in the comment section below!
Looking for more information on how to open up a trading card shop of your own? Check out other stories on how to open up a shop here:
How to Open a Trading Card Shop with Southern HobbyHow to Open a Trading Card Shop from a Shop Owner’s Perspective – Part 1How to Open a Trading Card Shop from a Shop Owner’s Perspective – Part 2How to Open a Trading Card Shop with Grosnor DistributionHow to Open a Trading Card Shop with Magazine ExchangeHow to Open a Trading Card Shop with Sports ImagesHow to Open a Trading Card Shop with Universal DistributionHow to Open a Trading Card Shop with GTS DistributionThe information provided in this story is for assistance only and is not intended to be and must not be taken alone as the basis for an investment decision. Opening a trading card store, like any other business, presents certain risks for the business owner. Each reader of this information should make such investigations as it deems necessary to arrive at an independent evaluation of an investment.