Marketing Your Card Shop: In-Store Activities

In-store activities are some of the best ways to market your card shop and get repeat customers. Some of the in-store activities cost very little, if nothing, while some do cost some money up front. Let’s go over a few ideas collectors and I have come up with.

Group Breaks

Finding hobby trends that collectors really enjoy involves getting to know your clients. You can do that by chatting with your customers or seeing what is popular online on the numerous forums and blogs. One of the recent popular things is called the group break.

Having a group break in your store is a great way to move product quickly and efficiently. Everyone pays for either a slot or a team. You can then open the entire box and the contents go to those who paid to get in the group break. Places like Clouts n Chara go through several cases of products of hockey products due to their eager collectors. Their prices are even marked up compared to the price of the product as well and the lower price of the split cost makes selling the slots to less wealthy customers easier.

Hold a group break a week or bi-weekly and you’ll be happy you did. Just make sure you give ample time to market the group break and if it’s a slot break, get some pre-orders to the group break in.

Youth Sports

Start them young. You have all that extra base laying around or cheap game used/autograph cards that you want to get off your shelves? Pack them up in team bags and go visit your local youth sports leagues. Not only will you be starting collectors young, but adding in a simple business card can help spread the word about where they can find more sports cards. Easy marketing at minimal cost. Or to make it an in-store activity, have the youth come to your shop in uniform to receive the free cards or packs.

In-Store Signings

One of the biggest draws can be in-store signings. Getting a Hall of Famer or popular player on a local professional sports team is a great way to get more people in the door. Combine that with maybe an appearance by an authenticator or grading service like BGS or Tri-Star, and you got yourself a winner. You can easily buy a number of things that people can get signed as well and sell those at the door. You can also get extra items signed for your shop to sell either in your store front or online. It’s a great way to get some additional income and market your store at the same time.

All of these things are great ways to improve your business by holding activities that will bring traffic to your shop. More traffic is equal to more business.

Increasing Your Card Shops Sales

The first staggering statistic I heard from those who attended the Las Vegas Summit was the number of card shops who don’t use social media to improve their customer base. The next statistic was the number of shops who don’t utilize the internet or other avenues to increase sales.

First, we’ll start with the internet. There are a number of sites you can sell your singles or card lots on that you may have never used before. The first of which is eBay. Arguably the easiest place to sell your cards at, eBay is the first stop collectors go to when looking for singles. Creating an eBay account is easy and listing is even easier. The only downside is the need for a PayPal account and the fees eBay imposes. However, if you want your singles sold quickly, this is the best place to go. If you aren’t using eBay, you are losing out.

The next best place, in my opinion, is CheckOutMyCards.com. This is a great place to sell your singles as well, especially those with lesser value. This is quickly becoming a close number two to eBay. The way this site works is that you send in your cards to them, they scan and list them for you, and you set the price. That’s all you have to worry about. The fees are much less than eBay, and from what I hear, sales are good. I’m going to be sending in a batch soon to them, so I’ll be able to explain more about it in a later post.

A site I just learned about, is Listia.com. Shane K. posted about this site in our last article on saving the card shops and he had some interesting points to use this site. “This site is similar to ebay auctions, except that no money is exchanged – it is all based off of virtual, free credits. This website has many sports cards that people are giving away for free – and often offer free shipping! I’ve seen plenty of serial numbered, game-used, or autographed cards being “auctioned” off. Its a good way to get rid of cards that may be collecting dust on your shelves, as well as obtain hot new cards to display and sell for 100% profit in your store!” I would also think it would be a great place to get some of your local team cards and sell them at your shop. I’m giving it a try right now for my personal collection.

(Tip: You can also use sports card forums like the ones listed to the right as a great place to help sell your singles and sets.)

There are numerous other places as well as I’ve seen people sell on Amazon, Beckett Marketplace, and numerous sports card auction/classified sites that pop up all the time. It’s not hard to find a place at all. I’m just showing you some of the easy ways.

I would also recommend putting your business online. I know Topps doesn’t require anything special, however, I would get with your distributor about becoming an online sales place for Upper Deck and Panini products. Putting your full business online is a great way to increase your sales and customer base. It’s pretty simple to set up yourself if you know a little bit about building sites, but it should be relatively cheap for the amount of extra business you’ll do to pay someone to do it.

Finally, why not sell more than just sports cards at your shop? Adding additional sports related merchandise would be a great addition. You know those stores that sell sports clothing and paraphernalia? Trying buying some team license plates, pens, beer mugs, jerseys, t-shirts, and all that fun stuff. You can not only market yourself as a sports card shop, but also as a place to buy other sports stuff for your favorite team. I know stores in my area which are very popular for their sports stuff and do good business. If you sell enough sports memorablia/paraphernalia, you could afford to drop the prices to a very competitive price as well. It’s definitely an idea worth exploring.

All of these ideas are great ideas from myself and the card collecting community. I invite other collectors out there to share their ideas to help card shops help increase their sales.

 

Utilizing Social Media For Your Card Shop

This is part of an ongoing series of posts in which SportsCardBlog.net is working to help card shop owners “Save the Card Shops”. We’ve been working with collectors and utilizing the knowledge within the hobby to create more business and a better environment for sports card shop owners and collectors alike.

From what I understand, there are still many card shop owners out there who don’t utilize the internet in order to help their business and bring customers into their stores. In today’s marketplace, not having an internet presence for your store is practically destroying your business.

There are several simple and free ways to market your card shop online to your customers and future customers and that is through social media.

The biggest places to utilize social media are Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. However there are several other hobby oriented sites as well where you can find new customers and interact with customers as well.

We’ll start with the big three.

Facebook

Creating a Facebook page is simple and it’s something that collectors around the world use. Create a page using your shops name and make sure to include the address, phone number, as well as store hours.

Continuing to post information is vital, so posting when new products arrive is a great way to start. I also recommend if you have customers that bust product in store to take photos and show off those big hits that come from your shop. You can spend some time engaging with your customers as well. All of this takes up very little time and is a great place to promote your shop.

Make sure your customers know you have a Facebook page as well by printing out a simple sign with the Facebook logo saying “Find us on Facebook!”

Twitter

Twitter is a great place to get out information as well as speak directly with the companies representatives on a more personal level.

As with a Facebook page, create a Twitter username with your card shop names and make sure to fill in other information on how to find your shop in the “About Me” area. You can post about when your products are released and keep in contact with your customers and company representatives about their products that you sell.

You can also engage in discussion with other collectors and follow collectors to see what’s getting popular in the hobby or what products they are looking to open so you have it available in your shop.

I’ve seen companies even “retweet” card shop tweets about big pulls from their products. Collectors follow the companies as well so if a collector sees that a shop is close by and they may not know about it, that’s another possible new customer and at least a new “follower” of your tweets. You tweet that you got a new product in for a great price, your customers see it and they’ll want to pick it up.

Again, post at your shop that you have a Twitter account so your customers know to follow you.

YouTube

Every card shop should be opening product for customers. What a better way to open product on camera and posting it for the world to see?

Sharing your YouTube videos with customers and people from around the world is a good way to promote your site. People are always on YouTube wanting to see breaks and what kind of cards are being pulled. (You can even link to your videos on the above channels.)

I’ve seen people share their breaks of Panini products and Panini has featured their shop in their “best hits of the month” videos which are seen by thousands of collectors around the world.

Unlike the other mediums the visual appeal of YouTube is perfect for sports card collectors. Nothing like seeing a full box or case of product being opened.

Forums/Blogs

If you aren’t reading and interacting in collectors forums and blogs you are really missing out on information.

Do you know what “group breaks” are? This is a popular trend in the hobby I will go over in the future, but the only way you could have learned about them is through blogs and forum sites.

Do you know what the hottest products are that collectors are most excited about? Do you know what bloggers have found wrong in certain products that may have affected your customers? If you aren’t reading and participating, you aren’t in the know and it affects your sales by either not being knowledgeable or not being prepared.

Check out the links I have on the right sidebars for great blogs and communities around the web.

These are a number of ways to get your shop out there on the internet and interacting with your customers and future customers. It makes your shop more visible, keeps customers in the loop about products, and it shows that you actually care about your shop as you are knowledgeable and friendly with your customers.

As with all these posts, I invite collectors to share their thoughts about card shops using social media and some recommendations collectors may have to interact with card shops.

 

 

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.