1¢/month… What do you think?

First off I want to thank everyone who gave us feedback and who is helping this site become even better. We are always open to hearing about new and better ways to do things.

Invitation

How many of you had the opportunity to help eBay define their fee structure when they were first starting? I would like to give each of you an opportunity to voice your opinion and help shape a service that is only in its infancy. In fact, it was a year ago on Halloween that I left Microsoft to pursue this full-time. The company was still operating out of my garage, and we had no employees. Now we have a warehouse and 10 employees. We are all still on the ground floor. Where do you see us being in the next 2-5 years?

Please help us define our direction and shape the service into what you want and need it to be.

Goals

These are our high level goals for our new fee structure.

Cost-effective
Sellers need to be able to make as much profit as possible so that they will send us even more cards. We would love to be averaging 5,000 new cards per day by the end of the year.

Sustainable
The fees need to cover our expenses as we grow to having millions of cards. We need to balance the cost-effective goal with paying our bills, hiring more employees, and expanding our warehouse.

Understandable
People need to be able to see or hear our fees and easily remember them. We want this to grow by word of mouth.

Reaching Our Goals

In order to go after the first goal, we decided to drop the upfront processing fee to 10¢/card. We do have a state of the art system for scanning and inventorying every single card, but it is not quite that good. This is effectively a loss leader. We are subsidizing the cost of processing the cards with the belief that we will earn back the difference when we help your cards sell.

Now to balance the first goal, we need to protect our initial investment in processing your cards. If your cards sell quickly, that is great! You are happy, and we earn back our loss. If your cards just sit there forever, we lost money up front, and we continue to lose money each month as we have to pay for insurance, warehouse rent, website hosting, Beckett data licensing, and many other expenses.

Our first stab at addressing this issue and keeping our fees easily understandable was to introduce a 1¢/month storage fee. This would encourage people to set fair asking prices so that the cards will sell more quickly. If they don’t, we will eventually recoup our losses and cover our expenses through the storage fee. Millions and millions of cards are listed on eBay each month for least 3¢/month, so we felt that 1¢/month should be more than fair.

Helping You Sell Cards
Our ultimate goal is to actually help you sell your cards, not to just sit on them forever. I hope that the new fee structure of 10¢ upfront and 1¢/month will bring in significantly less revenue per card than the original 20¢ fee because cards will be selling that fast.

A large number of our seller are already seeing this kind of success, and in order to help even more sellers be successful, we are building many new inventory management features. We would even love to increase our advertising budget.

Your Feedback
We have already received many helpful suggestions, and I want to encourage more of you to pipe in. What do you think of the updated fees?
* Is 10¢ upfront + 1¢/month fair?
* Should we give more than one month free storage when initially listing cards?
* Should people get a month or more of free storage when they attempt to flip cards?
* Should buyers get a few months of free storage when they are waiting to make their shipment request?
* Should we give people the option of paying a larger upfront fee instead of the storage fee?
* Should have a tiered storage fee that decreases for people that have a large number of cards?
* Should we give you a discount on future processing fees based on what you are paying for storage?
* Does someone want to just donate a ton of money so that we don’t have to charge fees anymore?

We are open to all feedback, but remember, we need to keep the fees understandable and sustainable.

Feel free to leave comments on this blog post or send feedback directly to us.

16 thoughts on “1¢/month… What do you think?

  1. I have no problem with the new fee structure. In fact, I wish it was only .10 when I first found COMC. You have helped me downsize my “collection” of cards when I recently retired from the Navy and moved to New Mexico.

    I believe .10 a card and .01 a month is more than fair. I believe if the card is priced right, it will move! I am a prime example of that….In just 6 months, I have sold over 3,500 cards and have sales of over $7,100!!!

    I have tried Ebay, Sportlots and NAXCOM (Sportsbuy) and this is by far the easiest and least time consuming of them all. I hated scanning my cards, getting on Beckett and finding a BV, etc…

    I think the prices you have come up with are more than fair for the service you provide. I haven’t gone more than a day without at least a card selling!

  2. As I said in the other thread, I personally have no problems with the .10 + .01 structure as I believe my cards will sell quick enough on average to pay the same or less than the old .20 structure.

    However I wouldn’t mind seeing 2 choices – the .10 + .01 structure or a flat rate of around .25 per card. Whether this could be chosen on a card-by-card basis or on an whole-account basis is up for discussion, but I’m guessing that it would be easier to have one plan per account.

    That way sellers who typically list cards that will sit longer could choose the flat rate, while sellers that have faster selling cards would benefit from the new plan.

  3. Just like EELindy, I also have no problem with the new fee structure.

    I’m a newbie to this site, but have become a big fan overnight.

    I personally realize a huge time-saving value from COMC just by not having to deal with eBay listings, scans, packaging and post office trips. I think this definitely offsets any price increase. I’ll trade a few pennies per card for more discretionary time any day.

    After all, this is a hobby for most of us. This site allows me to pursue my passion without having to neglect things like family, occupation, etc.

    I don’t want this site just to survive. I want it to go big. And in doing so, I wish the best for the founder and his team since their livelihoods are directly linked to any fee structure.

    I’ve only one suggestion — give sellers 60-days before the .01 storage fee is assigned. If a card doesn’t move within a month, the seller would have four weeks to adjust pricing or determine why it hasn’t sold.

    COMC is a great alternative for hobbyists, and I believe the new plan is fair. It’s important for the staff to work on development without worrying new features won’t be rolled out because users won’t pay.

    I’ve no idea what future products are in the works. But I’m hoping to eventually see unopened wax, memorabilia, hobby publications and supplies on this site. These things will require more traditional and less sophistocated warehousing/fulfillment models that could be even more expensive.

  4. Again, the storage fee sounds simple enough, but you are trying to excite new users to sign up and send in their cards. I could almost say every 1 out of 4 redblooded middle class american boys or men collected baseball cards at one time in their life and may still collect or have them collecting dusting in a closet/attic somewhere. So there are so many potential clients out there, but if it seems like more of a financial burden, then would that discourage them??? I don’t believe the monthly fee is the way. I myself, would rather up the charge and pay you .25 or .30 per card to help pay for any upgrades to your systems that you need to make. I know your machines are working around the clock and you get wear and tear. We ALL completely understand that not matter what line of work we are in. As soon as this election is over, gas prices will go back up, and so will everything else, including the mail and postage charges! I hate to break all of the corners down on the issue, but if our hobbies actually start figuring in to our monthly bills, then it becomes a problem…

  5. I can go along with all the new recommendations about the fees. I would recommend that you look at maybe allowing uses to pay with a credit card. I know a lot of people that do not have a PAYPAL account and do not want to get one. With that we are all losing potential buyers.
    Also I would let sellers have maybe 60 – 90 days before you charge them
    I am not a store but I collect only select players and with your site I now have a place to sell the cards that I used to just get rid of. (yes toss in the trash).

  6. * Is 10¢ upfront + 1¢/month fair?

    – I believe so. We would essentially have 1 year to sell each card before we start paying more per card than under the old fee structure. That should be enough time to either sell the card at our initial price or an adjusted price or determine the card just might not sell for whatever reason. If we still believe the card has the potential to sell, it will only cost 12 cents per year to leave it up (pretty inexpensive).

    * Should we give more than one month free storage when initially listing cards?

    - One is alright. Two would be even better… that way it would give us a full year to sell a card before we reach the 20 cents per card we used to pay. But I think either way, the storage fee is a fair one (I just hope you can keep it from rising in the future as any increase would at least double this fee since its starting at 1 cent).

    * Should people get a month or more of free storage when they attempt to flip cards?

    - No. Flipping a card already allows the seller to essentially add cards to their account without paying any processing fee. I think which ever seller maintained ownership the longest in the month should get the storage fee and the new owner gets the fee each month after that.

    * Should buyers get a few months of free storage when they are waiting to make their shipment request?

    - Yes!! Most buyers are going to want their cards fairly quickly anyway, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. If they don’t ship immediately it is only because they are assuming they will be buying more in the future. I don’t see any reason to in effect penalize a buyer for wanting to buy more. I think any cards flagged to be shipped should be exempt from a storage fee AS LONG AS they are indeed eventually shipped and not put back out for sale.

    * Should we give people the option of paying a larger upfront fee instead of the storage fee?

    - Sure. I think this is fair for people who would like to add cards that may not be as quick to move or that just don’t want to mess with any kind of monthly fee.

    * Should have a tiered storage fee that decreases for people that have a large number of cards?

    - I think lower fees for the higher volume sellers makes sense. Every other site I can think of gives some kind of break to those sellers who are making the company more money. It seems like a win win.

    * Should we give you a discount on future processing fees based on what you are paying for storage?

    - I’m a little unclear about this question. An example might help.

    * Does someone want to just donate a ton of money so that we don’t have to charge fees anymore?

    - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation?? They’ve got to start spending all that money on something, right?

  7. I don’t have a problem with the fees.

    I don’t know if you are able to unlist cards & have them sent back?
    I’ve wondered about a reduction fee added to each card after not sold after a period of time, to clean up all the commons and base cards. i.e. after a year the listed price will drop an additional %5 each month for a year & if still not sold then it should be taken off? maybe this is too much.

    What about the addition of lot sales, say I have 50 cards that are listed for .10 each but no sales, can I group them to one big lot & sell for $5? Cards should have to qualify… listed for a year and should be grouped by same brand/year, player, game used or serial #’d?

    I do think advertising needs to be pushed. This is by far the best sports card site out there, you do all the work for the cheapest price with great photos!!!! The only downside is beckett, sportslots & ebay has more volume. If others new about this place there wouldn’t be any going back.

    ok i’m rambling. thanks

  8. Thought I would add in on this new fee and monthly storage fees. Personally I fee that .20 cents was and is more then a fair fee. Where else can you go and have another company do ALL the hard work and you (the seller) take in the larger percentage of profit? But .10 cents would indeed increase the amount of new cards being sent in and YES I am all for it.
    The storage fee is well inline with the cost and space that COMC has to maintain to protect the cards they hold.
    Now I know this one will most likely rub some sellers the wrong way, BUT I do feel it would be a fair fee. I would not be against having COMCs charge a fee of say .25 cents for cards that others buyers pick up from each other. As an example I have bought more then 1,100 cards in the past year from other sellers and relisted them. Remember COMCs still has to work with these cards even tho they are not being shipped out right away.They have to move the card(s) to the correct buyer inventory and update their records. Just my two cents and not to be taken the wrong way.
    i would LOVE also to see maybe down the road ALL cards sent in or bought from other sellers listed on the main seller board. As it is now only the cards you send in are shown.

  9. I dunno, as a part-time collector and a seller that does not have a high volume of sales, I have 100+ cards in inventory but I do not always sell much every month. In my case, I will have paid to ship my cards, list my cards, and now store my cards. I know it is only one cent, but I think it will leave me with the perception that I do not know how much money I am gaining vs. costing me.

    That said, I will still use the service and I believe the storage cost is fair, I would just prefer to have a fixed cost.

  10. I think to me the new storage fee should be tiered. Its stopped me from sending more cards temporarily. I’ve thought more about what you won’t be able to find because of fear of paying a per card fee. If you’re a set builder, single team collector, rookie cards only, etc. your not always looking for “stars” . Would people not send in cards because they think they would have to sell to cheap to avoid fees or no one is gonna buy that.What about pre 80′s commons or collecting players who only played during the mass production era and none of there cards book for more than 5 dollars. If you’re only buying or selling high end cards its really a minimal expense. It’s like the avg. pack price going up and up, we need to keep all levels of collectors involved. COMC rules and I’ll wait to see what happens.

  11. I would like to have the choice on what program that fits me best. The storage fee should have a max cap of 10.00 and a 100.00 cap per year if you go with that program. This might discourage people from send up some cards that they dont think will sell. The problem is you never know what people want. I have been in shock of some cards that I have sold. I thought they would sit for a while, but they sold fast!!!

  12. Just been doing a little math, if you sell 10% of your inventory each month, and replace it, you will break even with the listing and storage fees. Example, you have 2,000 cards, sell 200 and replace 200 a month, you save $20 a month in listing fees, $240 a year. Storage fee for 2000 cards would be $240 a year. If you sell more than 10% you will be better off with the new fees, less than 10% will cost you more. This should encourage dealers to fairly price their cards. I do not believe that the new fee structure will encourage sellers to send more cards, just the opposite, they will have to be more selective in what they send. I am new to COMC; however, I managed to sell 15% of my inventory the first month, as long as I stay above 10% the new fees look OK to me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s