SportsCardBlog.net Introduces “Save the Card Shops” Campaign

SportsCardBlog.net, in conjunction with collectors around the world, would like to introduce our “Save the Card Shops” campaign.

This campaign is different than the others you may have seen from different card companies. We will not be giving out free cards to give away to card shops. We will not be telling you how to open a card shop. We will also not be running any promotion to get you to return to the card shop to pick up a redemption/prizes.

This campaign is going to give out something that all these card company campaigns didn’t to give out with the above promotions, information.

Helpful information for card shops already in business is hard to find. With this campaign, we will be giving away our tips to better succeed in your card shop business. Also, the comments area under each section will be open for additional tips and ideas from readers around the world to give their thoughts and ideas.

The hardest part of this campaign will be to get the information out there to the struggling card shops. So I am urging everyone to spread the word to your local card shops or to anyone who could be of help spreading this information.

We will be posting new information every few days at http://www.sportscardblog.net/save and have a new bar at the top of the site.

While I may not own a business or a have a degree in business, these are ways that I have learned to market your business. I’m not guaranteeing these ideas will work, however, they cost extremely little and will only help the business.

2012 Industry Summit…And I’m Not There

It’s a sad day when the official Industry Summit has started in Las Vegas and I’m not there. Last year, I started this blog shortly after the Industry Summit and knew that I wanted to go the following year with my blog having had a year under it’s belt.

Well as always, life gets in the way. I kinda ended up proposing to my girlfriend at the time and kinda have to save for a wedding. Oh well, maybe next year.

But that doesn’t stop me from reading all the great information from others I know who are attending. I’ve read some interesting things already, which include some interesting stats from hobby shop owners.

After reading some of those stats, I’ve come to a conclusion. Many hobby shop owners either just don’t care, or have no idea what they are doing anymore.

I wrote a post almost a year ago on how I would run and create a hobby shop. It turns out, many of these owners are not using anything I have mentioned here to reach out to their customers.

Many shops aren’t connecting with their customers and potential customers using the mediums I suggested. Facebook, Twitter, even emailing their customers just aren’t being used.

But I also found more staggering information. Hobby shop owners are only getting information on products from their distributors. They are waiting for the information to be fed to them. At that point, the collectors know more about the products then they do!

Case in point, when I went to my local card shop a few weeks ago, I was TELLING HIM about Panini Preferred basketball. Collectors are much more aware of what is going on then the people who are running the hobby shops! What does that tell you?

It’s no longer 1988. As I’ve said before, either run your hobby shop like it’s 2012 or you are going to fail. I use Wayne’s Sports Cards in Edmonton over and over again as an example of a great shop. Yes, it’s in the city, but there are a ton of shops in that city for competition. But time and time again, they come out on top as one of the best shops in Canada. Upper Deck even featured them on their blog recently.

As always, my email is readily available to any hobby shop owners who have any questions or need some ideas.

Reply from Upper Deck’s Mike Phillips

So as you may have read with my interview with Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards, I asked about why Blowout Cards was not part of the Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailers program. I was told to direct any questions about that to Mike Phillips, Director of Hobby Sales, or Richard McWilliams, CEO of Upper Deck. I figured that I wouldn’t get any response from the CEO of a large company like Upper Deck so I went to the source which I felt would give me an answer. In a short turn around time, I received an answer that completely avoided my actual question 100%.

I explained my situation of why I was asking the question and specifically asked why Blowout Cards was not an Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailer. The response I received seemed like a form letter with my name attached to the top. No answers, no comments, nothing. This is basically like saying “no comment” to the press when you have a question. You know they know the answer, they just don’t want to say it. Here is what was said:

Thank you for your interest in Upper Deck’s Authorized Internet Retailer program. While there are many factors that Upper Deck takes into account when choosing its AIRS, first and foremost to even be considered as an AIR one must own and operate a full time brick & mortar trading card and collectibles store. Any brick & mortar store that has met the qualifications of becoming, AND has been approved as a Certified Diamond Dealer can apply to be considered for appointment as an AIR. Upper Deck will add additional AIRs to its network as it deems necessary. Upper Deck currently has eight AIRs in the US and five in Canada, with a few new AIRs pending in the coming months.”

So there is the answer. I was told that Blowout Cards has a B&M store as well and I’m guessing with their presence in the hobby they have moved quite a bit of Upper Deck product over the years. Why would you not allow one of your best retailers the opportunity to not sell your product in the first 30 days, or whatever the limitations are?

Personally, I don’t see this program lasting for the long run. Not only are collectors unhappy with this program, so are some of your top retailers over the past few years. If you really want to fix brick and mortar sales, it’s not your job to do it. It is 100% up to the B&M shops to fix themselves. I would not mind paying $10-$20 over prices at places like Blowout Cards at a B&M shop if I actually enjoyed going to the B&M shop. The ones I have been to around me are terrible. They know nothing about the products coming out, they are overpriced even more, and rarely do they get their products on the shelves in enough time. They don’t cater to the customer, all they do is cater to themselves. I am going to use my experience at Wayne’s Sports Cards in Edmonton, Canada, is my prime example of how a shop should be run. Great customer service, promotions, and tons of selection. If I lived up there I would be in there whenever a new product came out instead of ordering from anywhere online in Canada. In the end, collectors don’t want to wait to open their boxes. That is what made Chris of Cards Infinity so popular. I will show up at a B&M that deserves the support and pay whatever to open up product myself. I just can’t find one in my area that I am willing to support. And B&Ms are wondering why they are losing money.

Quit whining to Upper Deck and Panini that your sales are down. Take some of the blame yourselves and improve the experience and make people actually want to come to the store. Until that happens, people will just keep buying from places like Blowout or DA Card World online.