Shipping Experiment

Now that we are settling into our new building, we want to start some experiments that should improve our services. The first experiment we want to run is with our shipping options.

Old Standard + Old Bulk => New Standard
We have taken the best features of our old Standard and Bulk shipping services and merged them into a new Standard service.

Old Standard Old Bulk New Standard
Packaging Speed 3-5 business days 2-3 weeks Less than 1 week
Speed Guaranteed No No Yes, or Shipping is FREE
Shipped Via USPS First Class USPS First Class USPS First Class
First card $3.00 $5.00 $3.99
First 10 Cards $5.25 $5.00 $3.99
More Cards $0.25 $0.15 $0.20
Penny Sleeves Included Not Included Included
Account Required No Yes No
International $0 extra $10 extra $0 extra

Feedback Wanted
Try out our new Standard shipping service, and let us know what you think.

139 thoughts on “Shipping Experiment

  1. My feedback is that by increasing the cost to mail one card you will lose a lot of potential first time buyers. I like the idea of a flat rate up to ten cards but I think the discouragement for a casual fan who just wants one card outweighs the positives.

    • As a buyer only now & a one-time seller online for over 15-years it’s been my experience that buyer’s are trying to save as much money as possible these days. So I prefer the increase of $1.00 because so few buy only one card, they’d rather spend more money over a few day period and get a few more cards that they might like to offset the shipping cost whether it’s $3.00 or $3.99. That’s the smart way to do it & thank you to COMC for doing this! eBay is DEAD & will continue to get worse because they simply don’t care about anything anymore.

      • Right on, James!! I have no idea at how you stop at one card but if you do…. this pricing blends in perfectly with Comc’s buy & store system. I can buy it and let COMC hang on to it indefinitely until I see or think of something else I want. Right now they’re holding onto 1 card for me (it would have been #11 in my shipment) until the buying splurge hits me again.

  2. Jeff I would agree with that but it is my experience in talking to our customers that 20-30 cards is a normal size order. I can’t imagine many people pay $100+ to ship 500 cards but I am sure some do.

  3. I would expect any change in shipping costs to have a neutral effect on your bottom line. Also, previous changes to your business model seem to build a 1:1 relationship with a particular feature’s cost.

    Therefore, this tells me:
    a) You ship a lot of small packages. (Your previous post with the picture of outgoing mail reflects this.)
    b) Shipping individual cards is a hassle. (That’s why I stopped selling singles on eBay myself.)
    c) Whatever benefit there was to not using penny sleeves wasn’t being realized.
    d) The lack of surcharge or requirement to have an account for international buyers means that the integrity of our customers is quite high :)

    I would like to humbly disagree with Jeff that most casual fans are less likely to balk at the shipping increase for up to four cards. My guess is people without accounts are both more likely to be casual and less likely to think $3.99 is too much. Their ShamWow cost much more to ship :)

    I’m probably overthinking this. I just woke up, and the first thing I write is always long-winded. (Hm, so is everything I write. How lame!) Best of luck with this minor policy change, COMC.

  4. increasing shipping by a dollar on the first card is killer. i usually only buy one or two cards at a time, i dont buy bulk so it just made my costs that much more expensive.

  5. Since I have only used the bulk shipping option, I think this will make what is already a very expensive shipping option even more expensive. For instance, my last shipment was for 235 cards and it cost me $38.75 to ship. The actual shipping cost can’t be anywhere near that much so I assume most of the cost is for packaging and handling. I would like the rates above much better if there was a cap on shipping at maybe $20, no matter how many cards are in the order.

    • Wow, a cap on shipping would be great!! But I also understand that the price isnt only for shipping, it’s for the process of pulling the order together.

      I also just recently had a pretty large order sent to me using the old bulk option at .15/card. I think this new change will just encourage buyers to ship smaller and more frequent orders.

    • Cap the shipping, Bring in Bulk buyers and make room for more cards on COMC.
      Cap the shipping at 3-5 hours of work(pay). paying over $100 is not fun. Start taking care of the buyers.

  6. No doubt the shipping fees here are something we have expressed concern with whenever these issues come up. Others will say “compared to Ebay buying from 50 sellers would cost you much more”…. Ok.. But it isn’t Ebay (thank goodness) and it isn’t 50 packages. They do have overhead and they do need to pay their people for the time it takes to pull orders. When we were on Beckett Marketplace we would get 200+ card orders on a regular basis and I know what a pain pulling them was. However… my business could never have gotten away with charging $40+ for shipping and in fact we had free shipping on $50 orders.
    COMC is a fee based service…fees for condition notes..$4+20% for a cashout (under $250)… fees to take cards out of top loaders….
    In truth we believe several of these fees are excessive. However… we still use the service so I guess as long as we continue to pay the fees they have no reason to cease in charging them. At some point if they price themselves out of the market and sellers leave either due to fees charged to them or because shipping charges drive away buyers I believe they are smart enough to make adjustments. But for now things continue to grow for them.
    In the meantime… their fees for better or for worse are in plain English. Calculate them into your buying and selling activities. For example…we have an inventory of nearly 45,000 different pre 1975 sportscards. We won’t send them to COMC because of the condition fee charge. Most of you probably use Ebay. We don’t but we do use Amazon for those vintage cards. If COMC ever lowers or removes that fee we’d ship those vintage to them without hesitation.

    • excellent post. That is why i dont buy anymore and take inhand. Imagine how many bulk buyers are out there that left COMC and never come back(or bother checking), Never to see “new” shipping specials. sad

      • Considering my sales are at all-time highs, I can’t help but think the answer to this is “not that many.” And if the definition of “bulk buyer” is “purchases at 95% off” then I’m fine with the lack of competition.

  7. As a buyer who currently has over 300 waiting to be shipped, I really do not like this new option. Old cost $50, new cost $65. As has been pointed out, shipping costs for a 300 count box is no where near $50. I like the cap on shipping at $20 – $25. If this new option is my only choice, I will definately get this batch of cards and 100% be done with COMC. If a cap were to be put into place, I would continue to buy and probably buy more.

  8. I think that it is time to consider passing more of the shipping costs to the sellers. I am afraid that COMC will be scaring away prospective buyers with the $3.99 for the first card postage policy.

    As a seller I would be happy to contribute a portion of my sales fees to free postage if the card would sell for say $2.00+ each. To me this is part of the consignment service that COMC provides on my behalf. If offering free postage on my cards helps me sell more cards, I am willing to consider this option.

    We also need to be honest that COMC is not a sustainable business model for cards that sell for 25 cents each. I would rather see the seller cost to list each card increase to $.25 per card versus passing on this increase to prospective buyers through increased postage costs.

  9. With the new bulk postage rates COMC can send 3 ounces INCLUDING DC for $1.64.
    The USPS eliminated the 19 cent delivery confirmation fee. Right there is a per package savings for them.
    Bubble mailers can be had for under 20 cents. …..
    $2.15 per package profit at minimum. The guys in their mail room better be making more than the $9.50 an hour I pay mine.

    • how many cards a month do you sell on amazon? isn’t it $4.99 per card for shipping (I know comc gets a multi order discount) but most sellers on amazon do not get to use shipping discounts. You are making nearly $3 extra per card sale there just on shipping, plus normally having higher selling prices than any other site. I know it is set by amazon but you understand that what you are saying goes for your business also. I only do bulk shipping from here so $3.99 for the first card is nothing as you can get up to 10 for the same price. I would like to know how many 1 card shipments are made, but how many of them are for cards purchased under say $1? I’d have to say nearly 0 on that.
      As sellers here, are we now going to have to factor in a $4 shipping charge on every card we sell assuming the person purchasing it will be shipping? (ala ebay basically making us include shipping in our selling prices?)
      going back to an age old issue w/comc, once upon a time we discussed them possibly taking out say 0.05 a sale for them, maybe this is still something that can be done to help raise capital instead of doing it on the front end for processing since some cards will stay on the site longer than others and we need both parties to benefit. Just look at how many cards swag has or some of the other big guns, how much $ could comc take in if every one of those cards sold and they took 0.05? Do the math.

      • I am not going to post how many items we have sold. Weve done VERY well there both with cards and coins since leaving Beckett in January We also have a second storefront for comic books and have been doing consistent business for the last 4 years. We do have multi item shipping discount available there. Our card pricing is competitive with COMC. Can’t speak for Fleabay as we don’t have anything to do with that site but as I pointed out in regards to this topic..customers will always tell us if we are priced too high because we’ll notice a drop in sales.
        I am not interested in paying any further fees here. Between the posting fee, the cashout fee, the $3 + we pay for someone to take 20 seconds to approve a classified ad etc… folks we sellers are already paying our fair share. I know they have overhead and are fully entitled to make a nice profit for the service they provide. Speaking as someone who also has overhead and employees and have been doing this since 1991 I think they may be pushing it with the fees going both ways right now.
        We’ll see.. I love this site. It allows us to sell bulk cards while allowing my employees to focus on Amazon and our Stamp and Comic business. I need and want them to do well. But there is a cap on how much I am willing to pay and on the selling end I am there. We’ll see how buyers react to this shipping change. Maybe it will work. I know we won’t bulk buy or get anything shipped here unless a shipping special comes around. But we haven’t noticed a drop in sales due to their last shipping change. So as long as customers are willing to pay it…more power to them.

        Sorry for the long ramble. See you guys on the next topic down the road.

      • I think a plurality of orders from COMC are for 1 card. If you’re buying a 1988 Topps Jay Baller RC, it’s probably because you’re his mistress. What it costs to ship that card to you isn’t going to really make a difference. The buyer decided she wanted a Jay Baller card, and that was the one COMC had, and what’s $5 when you’re sleeping with an ex-major leaguer?

        Supply and demand will determine what happens next. If these changes cause sellers to leave, it just means less supply and higher prices for the rest of the sellers on here.

      • The less supply= higher prices for sellers left was a theory on Beckett too when fees and other changes took place… And then reality hit… less sellers+ higher prices = buyers leaving and heading to places like here where prices were cheaper. The same thing will happen again if this site overprices itself and drives sellers and buyers away.

  10. I’ll be honest…I would not be happy to pay another increase whatsoever. As I mentioned above I love the service they provide as well as a stable platform which Beckett NEVER gave us for the $250 a month we paid to be there. But their fees are at the very top of what we would consider reasonable for that service. The per card listing fee plus the 20% chop off the profits I consider to be a fair contribution for their service. That doesn’t take into account the additional 20% that any Amazon sale takes. At some point if the fees increase much more than they are now it won’t pay to list anything that doesn’t SELL for more than $20.

    • But what if the card that sells elsewhere for $16 is the card that sells for $20 here? It’s all relative. I get higher prices here for the most part, so what is really happening is the buyer has less spending power in exchange for the convenience and selection they get for shopping here. Seller reaction isn’t such a concern to me about this shipping experiment, but buyer reaction is. I have to think that order fulfillment guarantees and international surcharges were major pain points, because those were two main issues addressed here.

  11. I don’t understand all the negativity against these changes. They would only adversely affect you if you buy and have delivered 4 cards or less…Maybe I don’t get it because I don’t do that, I keep cards in my account, then ship them once I get a bunch, or they run a shipping promo. For 50 cards, it would be $11.99 to ship now, before it would have been $15.25…sounds good to me. Plus I get penny sleeves, and quicker turnaround…What am I missing??

    • 50 cards under the Bulk system would have been $11 even. It would now be $11.99. $0.99 isn’t a big difference, but for 100 cards the difference would be $3.49 higher, for 200 cards $8.49 higher, for 500 cards $23.49 higher, etc. And bulk shipping was already expensive under the old method!!

      While buyers who order cards by the hundreds make up a small percentage of COMC buyers, they are also some of COMC’s best buyers. If this change isn’t being made out of necessity, but rather just as an “experiment” I don’t understand why COMC, or any business for that matter, would penalize its best customers with such a stiff rate increase on an already expensive service by industry standards. Most businesses would want to offer these kinds of repeat/bulk buyers an incentive program, not raise their prices significantly for no apparent reason other than change for the sake of change.

      If the “New Standard” went back to 15 cents per card after the first 50, it would be a miniscule fee hike that me and other bulk buyers I’m sure could live with. Implementing a 33% fee hike per card after the first 50 cards to some of your best buyers is not insignificant IMO and certainly warrants some negativity.

      • How you doing Ohio….. I quit Comc INhand buying cause of the shipping. I rarely check back. I probably would have taken 10,000′s of cards Inhand if shipping was capped at $50 or something reasonable.
        PS Ohio.. I might contact your in the future for another “bulk” auto/gu lot.
        Your the best!
        thanks

        Take care of the sellers. (buyers and sellers) are important.

  12. I am confused, so it is the same cost to ship one card as it is for your first 10 cards?

    If so, this is an excellent idea and will have me buying more cards.

  13. I think this is FANTASTIC! I have made 11 purchases since finding COMC, ranging from 11 cards to 158. On the 11 card purchase alone I would have saved $1.31!
    I hope you stick with this format as even 5 for a buck instead of 4 after initial card would be a bonus but 10 for 3.99 also? WOW!
    This brings you a little more in line with Sportlots et al except their dealers have a limit of usually 15 to 20$ on S&H. The odd dealer even gives free shipping after 100 cards. That’s about a 7$ savings to us Canadians on actual postage. Comc’s new charge would be 22.19 so ya I’m also in favour of some kind of cap or limits for certain quantity levels although I realize your overhead takes a good chunk of change.

    As for 1 or 2 card purchases, who can stop at that, especially with all the sales that go on all the time?

  14. Single cards were ineligible for bulk orders, so to say they were $5.00 for the first card is a little disingenuous.

    Personally, my average order size is probably 200-300 cards, so this change represents about a $10-15 increase in my average order cost when I was already paying about 4 times the actual postage cost per order. That doesn’t sit well with me, and I can’t imagine it would with anyone else in my shoes, though I realize I’m not the typical buyer.

    But it doesn’t seem like anyone really benefits from this. Its basically an increase to an already expensive S/H policy and already one of the biggest complaints I’d see people make about the site.

    The old system was better for buyers IMO, and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  15. Ok I understand that they have storage cost, but there still needs to be a cap. You can argue the eBay thing. Yeah 50 sellers = 50 packages. All that means is I would factor the shipping into each of the 50 purchases that I made. You know what my purchase would probably change from 50 to 20. If they have 1,500,000 cards on the website, then they make 15,000 a month just on storages fee’s. They made 375,000 on processing fee’s. Not counting how many have been sold. I am not asking for free shipping just a cap.

  16. Hi everyone. I’m Jeremy and I work for COMC. I wanted to say that one of the things we appreciate most is how vocal and passionate our users are. We’re genuinely grateful to everyone who has been taking part in this conversation.
    I wanted to hit a couple of points to help explain the reason for this experiment.

    1. The Bulk Shipping Service, as we currently offer it (and it is still available for you to choose for the next couple of months) is not sustainable and consequently needs to be phased out. This is for a number of reasons, but chief among them are safety to the cards. Cards shipped with the old Bulk service were damaged in transit too frequently. This hurt the customers because the cards they were so excited to receive were arriving with damage, which in turn hurt the site – both in quality reputation (which directly correlates with repeat business) and in the hard cost of returns which raised overhead.

    2. If this is successful, we will actually make less money on shipping. This is not about COMC grabbing for more money; it is an effort to drive down the average shipped cost of a card bought on our site. Broadly speaking the average order on our site is for about a dozen cards and 80% of our orders are placed with the Standard shipping service. 12 cards under the old standard cost $5.75, an average of $0.48/card. The new standard costs $4.39, averaging $0.37/card. This change is effectively over a $0.10/shipped card discount to our average customer. The large majority of customers will see a decrease in their net shipping cost. Joel hit the nail on the head when he pointed out how inefficient it is to ship one card at a time. By offering flat shipping up to ten cards we hope to see the average order size increase – just like it did when we ran the flat special last December. An average increased order size means our sellers are selling more and our buyers are buying more, which is naturally a win-win. Someone who came here for one card may buy two instead, doubling the generated sales and halving their per-item shipping cost.

    3. For the remaining minority who either only buy one card at a time or order very high quantities of cards, this will mean an effective increase in cost. The one-card customers have demonstrated that a high initial cost is not a barrier (for example, $4.99 for the first card on Amazon has not deterred very high sales). In this new system the one-card customers either have an incentive to buy more cards (which we hope they will) or they can pay an extra buck and have their order mailed out next-day with the Rapid service. On the other side of the coin, 200 cards shipped Bulk will run you $33.50. With the new standard it will cost 41.99 – a $8.50 increase (or $0.04/card). Even with that increase, however, our new shipping is A) faster and B) guaranteed. If we miss our ship date, we refund you the shipping cost. And since the cards will be better protected there will be fewer instances of cards damaged in the mail, which hurts everyone and makes shipping cost irrelevant. We hope that the combination of dramatically faster delivery (when compared to bulk), better-protected cards, and an actual money-where-our-mouth-is guarantee will be of enough value to equal that $0.04/card difference. We’ll see. That’s the nature of the experiment.

    We’ll keep track of all the numbers, definitely read all the comments, and post more news as things develop.

    Thanks,

    Jeremy

    • Jeremy, THANKS for the explanation. However, it will not change my leaving COMC if this becomes the only option. As you pointed out, a 200 card order will cost $41.99 to ship. I currently have 308 cards waiting to be shipped, 2 of my 3 previous shipments used the bulk option, and my 3rd shipment was for just one card (it was for a friend who wanted it quickly). My first shipment had 300 cards in it, the second had 90 in it. I may be in the minority with liking the bulk shipping option, but isn’t it the buyer who purchases in bulk the customer you are looking to keep and not run off?

      • Hi, Glen87. I can appreciate your situation and it is something we’re sensitive to. We are not trying to “run off” any buyer, small or large. Both are important to the health and success of our site. As Tim points out below, though, labor is a fixed cost and unlike businesses which own their inventories we do not have the margin to take a loss on our shipping costs. The “Bulk” shipping option was less expensive because it took us less time – we didn’t need to take the time to sleeve the cards, and unsleeved cards can be shipped more compactly which saves some material cost. We’ve determined that shipping unsleeved cards is too unsafe in the long run, though, so we cannot offer the discounted rate because the elements which made the process less expensive for us will no longer apply. Conversely, since we have realized some efficiency improvements we are able to offer Standard at the lower $0.20/card instead of the previous $0.25/card. As we grow we will strive for continued efficiency improvements which will ideally allow us to lower standard shipping costs further.
        Thanks.

    • Sometimes Your CHANGES are to LATE. BUyers left and never check back. Think it out better.

      Imagine how many Big buyers left COMC. sad.

      • True, never good, & on the flip side brighter things can still happen. Redemption is always near. :)

      • h4auto is that you? still running the same lines? I dare you to go out in the market and buy 50 card lots from 50 different sellers and then compare those same lots and prcing on COMC and tell us what the total including shipping is for each. It doesn’t have to be the 50/50, but something that will show a few hundred cards over many different sellers. Maybe I’m wrong and ebay or outside of ebay will be better, I just want to see your numbers on where the better deal would come from

    • Full disclosure is I still love your site and this will not make me leave, but what I think you are saying is that a a customer who buys more than a few cards at a time I am completely expendable. I wasn’t expecting that, but I will live with it. Would it be possible to add incentive to ship more cards, say 250, 500 and 1,000? If not, is it your objective to discourage people from purchasing large quantities? That seems to be the only reason I can think of to justify this increase especially since the bulk purchasers appear to be such a minority that the increase in revenue was not your objective.

      Thank you.

      • I did not mean to imply that we do not care about large-volume buyers, and I apologize if my post gave that impression. We appreciate all our customers, and our goal is to find the best way to serve the most people with the highest effeciency. We do not want a customer base of only people who buy 12 cards – collector diversity has always been the heart of the hobby. I don’t believe the current model discourages buyers from purchasing large quantities any more than the previous model did, since the per-card cost is fixed. Going from 10 to 11 cards costs the same increment as going from 1000 to 1001. The issue is the fairness of the increment. I think your idea of incentivising larger purchases has merit, and we’ll look at some possible implementations.
        Thanks.

    • hi jeremy i am an account holder and the only reason is that a really nice fella offered me a coupon at the showcase at chantilly show back in october. i have bought many more cards than i have sold most of what i have sold is stuff that was in my junk box . i have never used the standard shipping just the bulk since most of the cards i have bought have been under a buck and there was a difference of like $5 so i have always used the bulk item shipping since my orders are of the 50+ card variety the packages were packed securely and professionally with no damage at all. my question is the standard shipping does it give a date for arrival (bulk just says it will be packaged and sent in the next few business days) i’m still fairly new on your sight i have been doing shows since 1986 and i have told all of my friends and customers about your sight.

      jeremy i think that maybe a cap on larger orders of like 100 or more cards is a plausible idea that i’m sure has been talked about around the water cooler but some folks just don’t see the value in large orders i’m sure that it has been discussed and i’m sure that it will be tweaked poked and prodded until either you will come up with an amicable solution or people will be like rats jumping off of the titanic kinda like FEEBAY.

      thanks for listening

      a

  17. Jeremy…
    One of the things we love about COMC is real people like yourself reading and responding with humam (vs canned) answers even when we may not agree with or show concern about something going on. It is for that reason I believe this site is in good hands and you guys wont hesitate to reevaluate things if the numbers show a decrease in cards purchased/shipped.

  18. So for everyone who was talking about how this would encourage smaller orders… It is actually the opposite. If you ship 40 cards, it is roughly 25% less than the old option, and only $0.50 more than what bulk was.

  19. SHIPPING CAP! PLEASE CREATE A SHIPPING CAP FOR YOUR MAJOR PURCHASERS! I just had a 250+ card order delivered and it cost me just over $40 to ship. Not happy about that, but know it will cost more to ship in bulk and I already slowed my purchasing habits once I realized how much shipping was going to cost me. Capping shipping will only encourage people to buy more in order to reach the shipping cap as well as not deterring buyers once they have hundreds of cards to be shipped.

    Faster shipping is a plus , but not if I have to pay $20 more for the service, I’m sure many of us can wait the extra few days.

    • I just checked out your order. The 242 cards came from 105 different sellers. If our service didn’t exist, you would have to find a website where sellers were willing to charge less than $0.40 per order for shipping. This is the advantage of our site. You are buying from 100+ sellers and paying only one shipping fee.

      Also, you paid an average of $1.17 per card. For those cards we make less than $0.10/card on the cash out fees. If we had a cap on shipping, we would lose money because it isn’t possible to ship cards securely for less than $0.10/card.

      Unlike sites that own their inventory, we don’t have big margins to cover the cost of shipping. Our shipping fees need to cover the labor required to retrieve hundreds of cards out of millions listed.

      Please keep these factors in mind when proposing solutions. Thx

      • Perhaps, it should be made clearer to every purchaser to consider the potential shipping cost to the cost of cards they are planning to buy. I usually reduce the price I am willing to pay for an item by $0.25 before I make an offer, for smaller orders I guess you are looking at $0.50. Consider someone buying 100 cards at 25 cents each and finding out later it will cost them $50 instead of $25 to get them home.

      • About a month ago I sold 100 1986 Topps baseball commons for 25 cents each at the same time, which means they probably went to the same buyer. This doesn’t happen every day, but it does happen more often than you might think.

        COMC sort of appeals to the high-end collector (think Mitt Romney collecting baseball cards) I guess, because who wouldn’t go to Sportlots for such an order? In any case, I don’t think those types of customers are as concerned with shipping rates. Must be nice.

      • That is false logic. In a sense, we are not buying from 105 different sellers, we are buying from one seller, COMC. You have the cards, and we are receiving ONE package, not 105 packages. Also, I would not buy half of the cards I am currently sitting on waiting to be shipped (300+ at this point). Many of the cards I have purchased are “impulse” purchases to finish old sets, or because I found a card I “sort of” wanted at a reasonable price. If I were paying 105 different sellers to ship stuff, I would be much pickier on what I bought. But since it is all coming from ONE “shipper” I splurge a little more.

    • I paid $100 + shipping a couple of times and stop buying now. So your not the only one that is bummed. COMC, take care of buyers please. Maybe alot of buyers will come back if the CHECK BACK like i do once a few months.

  20. How about tying a shipping discount to the value of the shipment? Lets say someone orders 100 cards, first the shipping is calculated by standard means. Then the total amount spent on the cards in the shipment is used to calculate a shipping discount. Say if someone spends 500 they get a 10% discount, a 25% discount if they spend $800, etc.. I’m just making those numbers up but you can an see what works. This would help comc by lowering shipping costs only when they make money by selling cards of value.

  21. If Shipping costs has the potential to lose buyers then i agree with Tigers1984ws then pass some of this cost on to the sellers. Forget any Listing specials that some of the people here practically beg for.Since you all have fixed the condition notes issue, all of your fees are more than fair for the amount of work you do and the service you provide.

    • People have to realize that COMC’s Consignment Service is not economical for all cards. I think it is fantastic that COMC strives to provide a full range of cards even when it is not a lucrative financial decision. This does not stop people from thinking that they should pay little or no postage no matter how small their order.

  22. My general sense is that buyers will be encouraged to order 10 cards, so long as they’re having one of them shipped.

    If this is successful, you might consider more tranches with flat rates. Maybe $3.99 for up to 10 cards, $5.99 for 25 cards, $19.99 for up to 125 cards, or whatever.

    I also agree with TigerWS that there should be some way for sellers to have the option of bearing some of this brunt. A possible approach would be to invent a “FEE FREE” logo that would be displayed next to selected cards. If a buyer purchases that card and has it shipped, that card doesn’t count against the buyer’s total.

    A seller could give their card “FEE FREE” status by paying an extra fee at processing, or by paying an extra fee when the card sells. A seller might be able to define which of their cards qualify for “FEE FREE” status, for example, “cards which sell for at least $2″, or “cards which sell for at least 50 cents, when the buyer pays full asking price”.

    If COMC makes most of their money on cards that sell for at least $3-$5 (or whatever), you might consider incentives which encourage sellers to submit those sorts of cards. Maybe free processing on cards which book for at least $20.

    Instead of relying on cash-out fees and postage for revenue, COMC might consider an alternate fee structure which sellers could opt into. For example, sellers could opt into a fee structure where they pay 10 cents plus 10% when the card sells, and don’t pay a cash out fee to get their money.

    COMC might also consider rejecting cards which are submitted when there are at least 10 copies already in stock and when the lowest asking price without condition notes is 25 cents or less.

    COMC might also consider a pre-screening service. Say I submit a 550 count box of cards and pay $50 pre-screening fee. COMC returns any cards to me where they already have so many copies and/or where the lowest price on the site is 25 cents or less, 50 cents or less, or whatever. Then the other cards are processed as normal. Possibly the pre-screening fee is credited toward the submitted cards.

    COMC might establish a charity account that is sold as a bulk lot either here or on eBay. If someone donates a card to that account, the card is removed from COMC and placed in a box. When COMC has a flat-rate priority box filled with Baseball or Basketball or Hockey or Football cards, the whole lot is auctioned off and shipped off, and the cards are never seen on the site again.

    • A key tenet of COMC is that all sellers are created equal. I don’t know whether they want to change that. However, you’ve touched on something they said when the site was new that it may be time to implement: Turning away cards that there are already too many of. Anything that there is more than 12 of (one screen’s worth of cards) and is also 90% off already should be returned.

      The upkeep of this would be sort of subjective, but honestly, I hate finding out at pricing time that I have to throw something out at 93% off straightaway because there are already 100 of them on the site. I don’t look at everything I send in card-by-card every time.

      It’s not to say that bulk lots of the same player don’t move. I sent in 70 1999 Topps Chrome Traded David Wells cards by mistake, but eventually most of them moved in a single transaction for about 30 cents each. The difference is that that card booked for 60 cents I think so it’s not like it was 90% off.

      • I don’t think it flies in the face of customer equality for a consignment service to tell people that they are not currently accepting a particular item on consignment. “Bring it back when we’ve sold the 150 we already have” seems perfectly reasonable, so long as they reject every seller equally.

        When I owned a card store, I found that my customers were willing to do a great deal of work for me. I’d take any card in trade if it was worth at least $1 or more in Beckett, but they’d have to look them up, and they’d have to sort them by price. People would come in with stacks of cards, They’d hand me 100 cards “these each book for $1.50″. Then they’d hand me another 100 cards. “these each book for $2″. I’d flip through a stack, verify that it looked about right, and then give them their trade credit.

        With COMC, I’d be willing, and I think a lot of customers would be willing, to do a lot of the monkey work for them if we knew what to do and had the tools to do it. For instance, if they’re paying someone to sort cards in some sort of order and put them into 9 pocket sleeves, I’d be just as willing to submit my cards already sorted and placed in 9 pocket sleeves. If COMC had some sort of pre-submission form where we could indicate the cards that we were sending in and the quantity we were sending, I’d be willing to fill out that form. If COMC included some way for me to add condition notes by checking a boxes that say standard things like “creasing”, “staining” or “wear”, I’d be willing to check those boxes. Especially if doing all this saved me a substantial amount on posting fees.

        As it is, COMC says “just chuck everything into a box and we’ll do all the work for you”. So my submissions are an utter hodge podge that couldn’t be more random if I had shuffled the cards blindfolded. But if I had the tools, and the right incentive, I’d be willing to do a lot of the prep work for them.

      • The problem or question is…if we ship them 200 cards…and they return 20 of them…first of all…are they charging the 25 cents? Who pays the return shipping? If I ship them cards it is because I want them posted. I don’t care how many are already on the site. That said we aren’t sending them modern commons. The only things we have sent them that there might be quantity of are rookies and if we aren’t quite the cheapest on that Fleer Griffey RC we’ll wait until the ones below us sell for less and if that takes too long we might take an offer for less.
        Shipping quarter cards to COMC makes no sense to me. Even though we buy them 10 for a penny we can’t see the value in paying for them to be shipped and listed so since leaving Beckett we’ve turned those into team lots.

      • The problem is that sellers will send in say 25 unnumbered Hakeem Nicks Rookie cards and drive the price down because they get to the point where they just want to dump them and not pay storage fees and then the guy who has one copy of that card doesn’t want to wait 2 years for his 25 to sell so he needs to undercut..Perfect solution no seller can have more than 2 of the same card if he sends more its shipped back to him and he is charged. Vintage probably could raise the limit to 4 or 5 because they are priced by condition.

      • That wouldn’t be so bad, Lee. It would force me to focus on sending in cards for the remaining sets that COMC doesn’t have a lot of coverage for yet.

      • This post is 1 of the stupidest i have read! Put a limit on cards u can send in!!!REALLY?? What kind of consignment service would that be? I send in my cards and list them at what i want to let them go for and that is that. If u dont what to pay fees then list them at .25 and sit on them. I am not sure why on earth any seller would send a card in and then list it for less then the cost of the listing fee, thats just silly!!!

      • If it takes me six months to get that quarter because 40 of the same card are ahead of it for 20 cents, it would be better to get 19 cents for it today. As long as I can make seven cents with that 19 cents during the next six months I come out ahead.

    • You honestly want COMC to police the site by checking the quantity that is already live on the site for each and every card sent in? How much do you plan on paying for this service? If you think there are to many of a card listed that you sent in priced to low, how is that anyone’s fault but your own? If you do your homework before sending cards in you will not have those problems. A couple years ago you could get away with blindly sending cards in, that does not work anymore! If you think there are too many of any given card listed too cheap there is a simple solution, BUY THE CARDS!

      The “Fee Free” also can never work. Are you going to pay the $3.99 if the seller only wants one card shipped?

      • Not exactly. What I’m saying is IF the choice is between processing a certain type of card and going out of business, then COMC should choose to not process that type of card, and possibly charge the submitter some sort of pre-screening fee. If it’s not a problem, COMC should just process whatever people pay to process.

        Judging from Tim’s comments, I gather that average selling price is important to COMC, more so than submission fees, storage fees and packing fees. My sense is that they make most of their profit on cash-out fees, and that the other types of fees are more or less at cost. There are two basic ways to handle this – either tweak the fee structure so that COMC makes money on the submission and packing fees, or weed out cards that are likely to be unprofitable before they are fully processed.

        “Fee Free” merely means that there is no incremental fee if a buyer adds that card to an outbound package. They would still pay $3 or $3.25 or $3.99 or whatever for the first card, but they would not pay any additional fees if their package had 10 or 50 or 100 or 1000 cards in it.

        I don’t know what else to call it. If anyone has a better name, chime in. “Fee Free” isn’t exactly what I mean to call it, but “No Additional Incremental Handling Charge Beyond The Initial Postage And Packing Fee When This Item Is Added To An Outbound Shipment And The Postage Has Been Paid For The First Card Of Said Shipment” doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

  23. Another possible option: charge a 10 cent buyer’s premium when a card is purchased, charge a 10 cent seller’s premium when the card is sold, and ship any number of cards for a flat rate of $3 per package.

    For instance, if the card is priced at $1, the buyer pays $1.10, the seller gets 90 cents and the buyer can get 1, 10 or 50 cards shipped for $3. Heck, you could even run some special deal where they can get 100 or more cards shipped for free.

    If someone successfully flips the card, you could refund the flipper 5 or 10 cents. If someone opts for a slower shipping method, you could rebate 5 cents per card.

    • This would hurt port sales and flipping, but I have to admit, rebating the fee at sale makes me feel a lot better about this.

      I think it depends on how COMC wants to bring in the money. (That’s all all of this is, really. They will get the money they need to keep the lights on. Whether it is through shipping fees, submission fees, storage fees, etc. is sort of immaterial It just determines how the fee acquisition is distributed.)

      The labor cost of flipping a card or buying a port is only electronic. I would assume the cards have that unique ID number because they are stored in that order. If that’s the case, there is no labor cost after the card is added to the site until the card is picked to be shipped. What you’re suggesting is to have other actions (port sales and other flipping) subsidize this process to encourage submitting cards and having cards shipped. That could keep inventory fresher.

      • I agree that COMC has to figure out what they are trying to accomplish. The current fee structure encourages port sales and flipping, and it encourages people to stock their ports with cards priced at or below 25 cents, 50 cents, or $1, depending on the rent-free thresh hold. The current fee structure discourages people from cashing out their store credit, from sending new money to the site, and from taking physical delivery of their low-priced cards.

        I started on COMC in March of 2010, two years ago this month. The last time I sent COMC new money was June of 2010. The last time I took physical delivery of any card was August of 2010. There’s no incentive for me to send COMC new money or for me to take physical possession of my cards.

        Let’s say I cash out $500 trade credit, COMC deposits $400 in my Paypal account. Now, let’s say I see something on COMC which costs $400. If I don’t have the money in my COMC account, I have to transfer $400 from Paypal to COMC. But to get the $400 in Paypal, I had to spend $500 in COMC credit. So, I’d rather wait until I do have $400 in my COMC account than transfer money from Paypal.

        OTOH, let’s say I have $400 cash burning a hole in my pocket and want to beef up my COMC account. I could send it to COMC, but, again, $400 cash costs $500 trade credit. I’d be better off spending $400 on cards anywhere other than COMC, submitting those cards to COMC, and beefing up my account that way.

        If you ask buyers why they don’t buy on COMC, they’ll almost always cite the postage cost as one of their top concerns. If you ask sellers why they don’t sell, they’ll almost always cite the 20% cash-out fee. If there was some sort of pay as you go OPTION (note, OPTION) then COMC would make just as much money and COMC users wouldn’t be hit with a ton of bricks.

        Maybe the pay-as-you-go fees could work on a value added basis. For example, if you pay 20 cents to submit a card and it sells for $1, you pay 10% (or whatever) percentage on the 80 cent different, or 8 cents. If you pay 20 cents for a card and flip it for $1, you also pay 8 cents.

        Another thing which makes COMC work harder is their insistence on only using the exact picture of the exact item being sold, with no stock pictures. Why? For near mint or better cards from the past 20 years with book value under $2, why not just treat them as a commodity? Pool the cards into a common inventory, charge 10 or 15 cents for processing, show the buyer a stock photo, and when the orders come, send them one from the pile.

      • You had me on everything until the stock photos… while it may not be needed it does set this site apart from every other card site in the universe. I don’t mind paying the fees associated with that.

      • I think what we’re seeing here is that COMC is different things to different people.

        “I’d be better off spending $400 on cards anywhere other than COMC, submitting those cards to COMC, and beefing up my account that way.”

        This is exactly what I do. I haven’t added funds since the last deposit bonus, which was in 2010.

        What is interesting to me is the #1 reason buyers and sellers stay away are reasons somewhat based on perception. Whether you pay $x via the card price or shipping, you’re willing to pay that amount for that order. So the “too high” cost for shipping is a misnomer in some ways.

        For sellers, the only way you pay 20% is if you deposit a card, sell it, and take the cash. And considering the fees on other popular sites are about the same, plus you have to do the shipping work yourself, it is OK for me. And that’s the thing. If you don’t mind doing your own customer service and shipping, COMC isn’t as valuable as it is to others. Nothing wrong with that.

      • AAA – I agree with you that stock photos would diminish the site. Any change would have some positive effect to some people and some negative effect to some people. For that matter, not changing things can also have positive and negative effects.

        Before anyone formulates any kind of business plan, they have to figure out what they are trying to accomplish, and whether their course of action is likely to help or hurt. It could be that COMC has no problem having 200 of the same 25 cent card in stock, so long as they also get 20 cents processing, 15 to 25 cents incremental postage, and a certain amount of goodwill and prestige for having a wide selection.

        Joel’s example of selling 70 copies of the same card is a good example. If COMC made money on the processing, made money on the postage, made money on some storage fees and cashout fees, and added to their reputation as the internet’s one-stop spot for trading card signals, why bother limiting anyone to anything?

        However, if the site owner is concerned that an order with an average selling price of $1.43 didn’t even generate much revenue for the company, then a bunch of 30 cent cards might simply be distracting the company’s resources away from more productive use.

        If it’s a choice between COMC limiting some cards and going out of business, I’d prefer that they limit some cards. If such cards are unprofitable, then it wouldn’t be a terrible thing to tweak the fee structure to make them profitable.

        I don’t know if these cards are even a problem for COMC in the first place. Reading this thread, though, it’s obvious that many of the retail customers of COMC are uncomfortable spending $50, $100 or more to take physical possession of a few hundred cards. The people who are buying 10-12 cards are fine paying $3 to $4.

        In real life, many consignment auction services will charge a premium to the buyer and a premium to the seller. Say you buy a painting at auction and the hammer price is $1 million. The person who bought the painting might have to pay a “buyer’s premium” of 20%, and so they actually shell out $1.2 million. The person who sold the painting might have to pay a “seller’s premium” of 20%, so they get $800,000. The auction house can claim they sold the painting for “no commission”, yet somehow wind up with $400,000. Nice work if you can get it.

        Something like that could work on COMC. If COMC charged an extra 10 cents per card to the buyer, subtracted 10 cents per card from the seller, AND reduced the incremental postage cost by 20 cents (that is, made it zero), it’s probable that there would be a flood of sales for lower priced cards, and that the cards would actually leave the site and wind up in the hands of people who want them. But it’s also probable that it would reduce flipping and port sales. It just depends on what COMC is trying to accomplish, the perceived benefits, and the perceived trade-offs.

      • Apologies for making the post even longer, but I should clarify that the other way of making that sort of transaction more profitable would be to spend fewer resources on them. Using stock photos on pack-fresh, low-dollar modern cards (90% of the cards on the site are from 1992 or later) would mean less processing, less sorting, and faster shipping. COMC wouldn’t have to distinguish between card # 3711116 and card # 2260806 and card # 2969019 when they’re the same card in the same condition. And it could be that the reduced number of resources required to process, sort, store and ship such cards would change those cards from being unprofitable to being profitable.

        I’m not talking about vintage cards or condition sensitive cards or high dollar cards. Just run-of-the-mill low dollar stuff from the 1990′s and up.

      • Hurting port sales wouldn’t be the end of the world…Down the road port sales will be the demise of COMC..You heard it hear first…It will kill the middle/small seller (which i am not one of I have a top 60 size port)).The same 5 or 6 guys are buying all the ports and cutting prices so drastic since they do not have as much invested(no processing fee).By buying a port at 90% you sell a few bigger cards and you get a decent amount of your money back. Every time i turn around i am undercut by the same guys and i know its from port sales because i watch and see who is buying them. I have 2 friends who were sellers here sold there ports and are not coming back for this reason. This place will end up 40-50 big sellers and then all hell will break out.

      • The fewer sellers there are, the higher the prices get because there is less competition for the same card. The thing is, supply and demand will win. If cards get too cheap, someone buys them and takes delivery to flip on Sportlots, eBay or elsewhere. If prices get too high, someone will send in their own because they can get more money for the cards here.

        This is the same argument people made about ThePit. Because of arbitrage, the markets generally stay about the same in every channel. And as traffic increases on COMC, it just makes the cards here that much more liquid.

      • As long as they continue to allow port sales after one more large cashout,then i plan on doing the same anyway and i am going to start buying up alot of ports and build BV as well.The way is is now it is more profitable to buy ports and dodge processing fees.

      • A few months ago it was more profitable buying ports, lately that has not been the case. Now with the classified adds it is rare for a profitable port to show up, and those seem to be sold within minutes of the ads going live.

  24. To me there is a entire underlying issue that perhaps has to do with the viability of the fee based service at price points that both buyers and sellers are willing to pay.
    I will not come off my stance that charging $100 shipping and handling to ship 500 cards is something no other business in American could get away with.
    Tim it doesn’t matter with all due respect what the buyer above would have had to pay if he had bought them elsewhere from 100 different dealers and had 100 shipments. The fact is he here. Those 500 cards could ship including packaging for under $15. If you need $85 to cover your labor to pull 500 cards then there is a problem with efficiency. And while you may not get revenue from the sale of cards…and I dispute that because at some point they are getting shipped or cashed out…you also have no money invested in the cards themselves.
    When we were on Beckett we regulary got 200-400+ card orders. Sometimes they were mostly quarter cards (and yes pulling those stunk big time) and sometimes they were for better groupls. In all of those cases those orders shipped free because they met the $50 free shipping threshold. I realize this is a different platform but just saying…we are losing sales to sites that offer free shipping to begin with let along the eye popping charges here.
    I’d like to know how much the classified approval guy makes per hour… The $2 fee to get your classified add approved tacked on to the $1 a day? That takes what…20 seconds to read? I get it…you don’t want the site flooded with 500 classified ads so there has to be a barrier to entry. But right there is an example of a next to no labor cash flow. $1 fee to cash out less than $250 on top of the 20%…. same thing…get you don’t want to process a bunch of $5 checks. But again… a no labor cash flow…
    The $3 batch fee….again get it… don’t want alot of what we send in (50 or so at a time)…but there again…a no labor cash flow.
    The condition notes…. hire me at 5 cents per item and I will condition note all day long… what are your people being paid to spend 5 seconds writing a couple of words?

    My point is…COMC is already very well compensated for the work they do. It isn’t easy work and overhead in that part of the country is not cheap. I can only imagine what their business insurance costs are. But you can only fee your sellers and buyers so much before they stop submitting/purchasing. If COMC can’t survive/thrive with the revenue stream they are getting now I am of the opinion the long term viability of this terrific site may be in question. The concept is great. The service provided as I stated earlier allows my staff to do other things which helps us generate more sales. But I am only going to pay so much before it becomes cheaper to hire another employee to deal with the stuff I send to COMC. 50,000 low to mid end jersey and autographed cards sitting here that might make their way to COMC but we for now are doing it in small batches until we see how things progress. We also have about 15000 vintage cards here in the $5-$20 book range we would consider sending in but those condition note fees make that impossible.
    I hope things work out for COMC…great site…great people running it and we are happy to make it a part of our business. Another batch of cards is on its way to them as we speak. Just thought I would share some further thoughts and concerns….

    • Great interesting insight.

      I respond from the perspective of not really knowing enough yet of how this site is wholly operating, their future plans, & the people behind the mission.

      Here’s what I do see…..they have a terrific idea for a model in the sports card industry. They are open minded to input while trying to make this happen. I agree that fees for sending cards in bulk, let’s use 500 as AAAVINTAGE brought up, & somehow I believe these should ship for about around what he quoted as $15. In fact I’m under the belief that you should somehow try to pass along actual shipping cost, however that may happen.

      Sure it is a challenging adventure. Awesome thing is there’s always hope to create something lasting.

      In closing, it would be amazing to have the whole team behind the endevour to receive equal pay, no matter what task another is doing, & even better is most could be trained, switch off to another job area, & establish better community. All this would definitely require faith.

      Hey keep on working at it. I plan to research more & perhaps come a committed player.

      Brian

      • Brian,
        They can’t ship at the raw cost of shipping. But I will stand by my point made somewhere along here that if they need to clear $85+ to cover labor/overhead on a 500 card order there is no way they will survive long term.
        There doesn’t need to be a hard cap but there should be a scale…Perhaps all cards over 100 ship for 10 cents.

      • They cannot have a hard cap since there cost to pull the cards will go up with each card, it does not stop at some magic number. I do not see why that is so hard to understand. Maybe the best way to go forward is to have a separate packing and shipping fee. The shipping fee can be a fixed rate and the packing would be a per card fee based on the speed desired.

  25. Apologies for the length of the above post and the couple of typos… I am passionate about this industry and when I get going…..

    • I’ve read this whole thread a few times and I still have a hard time with how you keep comparing beckett to comc. Now I never sold on beckett in the store format only on the old old forums a long time ago and really I only moved one or 2 cards at the most. Beckett is a huge cash cow and makes money from selling ad space, from grading, from all their subscriptions, no to mention what they charged you for a store, and don’t forget their auctions on ebay (take a look at what they charge for shipping and just imagine what their cut is on consignment sales)
      It’s like apples to oranges on how they are run and where the money is coming from. COMC is still in the baby stages of growth, and I think it got a lot bigger faster than expected and is going through the pains.
      I work in a hotel part time and honestly being on the inside I have no idea how a lot of hotels stay in business. With all the overhead (water, food, electricity, giving discounts, wages, insurance, etc) I can really only think that where i am is only scraping by. COMC model right now probably falls more closely to my hotel than it does to beckett marketplace. Lots of overhead and there are some areas which are overcharged or appear to be overcharged to fill the void.
      sorry if this is a ramble of sorts its 5am and I’ve been up working all night.

      Also back to the ebay shipping, sellers are more encouraged to offer free shipping because it makes their DSRs better which means they can still sell w/o restrictions, so we as sellers there just raise prices to cover shipping, so shipping charges are still there, they are just factored into the cards overall price.
      I know on the few shipments I have taken from here, I factor in shipping to my overall buying prices in order to come out ahead or to justify some of the higher costs.

  26. I think the classified fee should go way up, like $5 or $10 per ad…It looks like a flea market.”I will not be undersold, I have the lowest prices on the site”…on and on ,and the port sale scams are getting out of hand as well.

  27. What kind of scams?

    We ran a couple of ads over the last few months but get better response from Facebook and Twitter….for free.

    • I think he means people who buy 95% off cards and try to sell the port for 90% off. Not all port sales are the same. This also has a depressive effect on legitimate port sales, because buyers think they can get them for less. (And yes I am totally looking in the mirror when I say this.)

      • I notice a lot of the same users making a new 24 hour sale everyday. There has to be some good $ going into COMC by the seller doing this instead of making 1 ad for a week at $9, COMC instead is getting $3 a day from this seller, like some of you have said though a lot of the ads don’t work when the prices are jacked up too high even for a 1/2 offer. I’ve done well with every ad I have posted even with a buying ad I once placed so I know it works, I will also use blowout, facebook and twitter to get the word out. There are many many sellers who have never used the ad function and don’t even advertise at all and I’m sure they get plenty of business.

  28. There has been some great feedback in this thread. I love this site and always want to help to assure long-term success.

  29. Lee.. please explain. if you dont feel comfortable doing it here look up tripleAvintage on facebook and shoot us a private message. We make offers on ports so if there is something we need to watch out for we’d appreciate the info.

    • If you’re looking at the ports before you place an offer, you’re fine. You just can’t blindly make offers on them or you’ll get screwed.

      • If you are talking about folks who jack up their prices before putting the ports on sale those are easy to spot. Or folks who load their ports up with hammered vintage. We’ve seen those situations frequently and it seems to be the same few people doing it so we don’t bother looking anymore at their ads.

      • joelshitshow has a great point just look at the port before buying it! I dont have a problem with people buying at 95% of and selling at 90% because all they did was the work for me and i still got the cards at 90% of book WHAT A DEAL! Joel hit it on the nose just look at the port and if you like it then buy it. I buy many ports like that just so i can boost my overall b.v. the more cards i have the more traffic i get weather they are the highest or the lowest price on the site. I sell so many cards on this site that are not the lowest or even close to the lowest but they still sell and i belive that is because of my overall amount of cards

      • I have wondered about that, too. Even non-amazon sales I sell to people who don’t always pay for the cheapest, even when the condition is the same. There is a thing with how the site is designed that supports this, not that I am complaining :)

      • interesting so u think that there is a gliche in the system? I belive that buyers are just serching cards for there pc and see our names pop up more often then not and then just surf our ports for cards they collect. Not all collectors care about money they buy what they want when they want

      • It’s not a glitch, per se, but the site is designed so that after you buy from a seller it shows you only cards from that seller. I think this is to encourage making an offer. Even though you can get all your cards shipped in one order, if you’re buying from 60 sellers, you have to make 60 offers if you want to go to the trouble of not paying list price.

        Another possibility is that users click the link on the homepage to my cards and buy that way. Honestly, when I moved into the Top 10 for the first time, I didn’t see a bump in my sales, so I doubt it has much of an effect.

  30. My two cents. I buy several hundred cards a year, little by little and wait for a shipping sale before having the cards sent to me. I’ve done this several times already, and I have to admit, it has been a drag putting everything in penny sleeves when I put the cards into my collection, so I don’t mind paying an extra couple dollars for this service.

    And while the shipping has always been in less time than promised/expected, I love the idea that my shipping now guaranteed less than a week, or it’s free. I don’t mind paying an extra couple dollars for this service, either.

    Those two things pretty much make up for the price difference that suits my wants and needs out of this site. Not to mention I am happy to contribute to a terrific site whose margins I assume are on the low side of things. I’m a buyer/seller/flipper, and I’m not really here to make money, so consider this p.o.v. from someone who uses the site as such.

  31. You know what the greatest thing about all of this is? 70 posts… different opinions… no flaming..no personal attacks…even management has let constructive criticism of themselves go without deleting or threats of retribution.
    How many other sportscard forums around the internet can say that? Everyone on this thread including Tim and Jeremy should give themselves a pat on the back for the discussion here.

  32. First off, I am a collector, not a dealer. I buy cards for only one team. I am the guy who buys the dollar or less cards and I like to buy them hundreds at a time….I will buy the more expensive cards when I win the lottery or when I run out of the dollar or less cards that I need for my collection.

    I have also worked in inventory and shipping. The housing of millions of cards and having them organized in some fashion is quite remarkable to say the least. Shipping isn’t so bad once you have the products rounded up. It was in my experience that it was much better to gather a large amount of items and created one label and one shipping vessel than to get dozens of smaller orders with labels and shipping containers. But that was just my experience…if cards are getting damage in bulk shipments, it is more a testimony of poor packaging than it is of the post office…

    I have made one order here and would like to do more business in the future, but those many 25 cent cards that I need have now become 45 cents. A dealer on Beckett will give me free shipping if I buy $50 worth of cards…so it is the difference between getting 200 cards or only 102 cards…you can see where I am going to go….

    The problem with the hobby is that sellers want to make big bucks now with no vision to the future. Kids today don’t collect cards, they are too expensive…in a few years when we are all in nursing homes, our kids and grandkids will sell the cards for pennies on the dollar as there will be no one left to collect them….

    Book values are a joke and everyone knows it…people should state what they actually want for the cards with no “make an offer” option. This would clear out cards more rapidly and make space available for more cards should that be needed.

    Perhaps it is COMC’s business plan to only deal with high-end cards, if that is so, then it should be stated as such…but how high must the price be, plus postage before ebay is just as good of a deal for both the buyer and the seller? I have noticed a lot of sellers on ebay are offerring free postage now anyway…so it really looks like you are stuck between the low price beckett dealers and high-end ebay sellers.

    I have more comments, but have said enough. Good luck with the business. Perhaps I will be back in a few months…I’ll keep checking in…

    • How many dealers on Beckett will offer you the 200 cards you want? And to the point of another poster, Beckett doesn’t need their marketplace to be profitable on its own because they have other ways to make money, which COMC doesn’t.

      I wouldn’t mind if there were no “Make an offer” button, but those who buy exclusively would leave the site. Margins would go up, but volume would drop at a higher rate.

      • Many Beckett dealers have enough inventory to supply a collector with what they want…We at the time of closing had over 800 different cards of each of the top 50 guys in the hobby. Others on there stock commons.

        Beckett charged us $250 a month to be on there but (when working) provided us the tools to list 1000 different cards at a time in a matter of minutes.
        The only reason we are no longer there is the site glitches that plagued the site over the last 2 years finally wore on us. However don’t kid yourself on the available selection there.

      • Fair enough. Sounds like the money you were spending there didn’t go as far as the money you spend here. What I mean by that is the types of glitches here are less chronic and more representative of a site that is growing faster than planned. Beckett’s glitches (that I’d encountered) seemed to be more of a result of neglect and a lack of infrastructure investment.

  33. See what almost every post on this blog is missing is that if you shop elsewhere like ebay or even some of the other sites u pay 2.99 to 4.99 per card folks!!! The hikes and the fees at times can be a bit over the top but they are all within reason for the service that these guys offer. Thanks to all comc staff and good day!

    • That argument only works if those single cards purchased across multiple buyers are all items someone really wants or needs. I buy multiples from the same ebay seller or on this site because I know I can combine shipping, otherwise I probably wouldn’t buy most of the cards.

      You can charge $3 per to ship cheap cards and you’ll sell some, but eventually most will probably sit unsold because nobody wants to pay $4 for a $1 card. COMC brings the cards together and the sellers and buyers alike benefit from this, but it is this reason that more cards sell here than if people were chasing singles and had to pay $2-4 per card to have them shipped. This is also why sellers who offer reasonable combined shipping rates or caps will usually outperform people who are stubborn and want all their costs covered with each sale and don’t cap or offer reasonable combined shipping fees.

      I don’t know if other sites have done this before, but this site has taken a way to buy and/or sell lots of cheap cards for better money than any other site can, but they have to make sure that they can sustain this model and that the buyers and sellers remain happy. Otherwise we’ll just see those overpriced cards or inflated shipping charge deals cluttering up the other sites unsold.

  34. It’s ironic that I came across this post, as I happened to be checking the blog just to make sure I didn’t miss out on any shipping promotions.

    I check the site almost every day, usually multiple times throughout the day, and gradually build up my order of cards (sitting at 234 right now). I’m not in any hurry to have them shipped to me, as I know I’ll likely just be picking up more the very next day. So, I tend to wait for shipping promotions, as those are really the only time I have any incentive to ship my cards out.

    To me, this change essentially means I could be paying an extra 10 cents per card (compared to a 10c bulk shipping promo) when they eventually phase out the bulk shipping option, which I’m assuming is getting replaced with this new standard option. That’s a pretty noticeable increase on cards in the $1-2 range, or less.

    Having the cards shipped in sleeves is nice, but I’m guessing they were stored in sleeves to begin with during the processing / scanning phase, so this part is really more of a time saver for the staffers that were stuck removing all the cards from their sleeves prior to shipping a bulk order. If they were actually putting each card into a new sleeve, that would just be another opportunity to damage the corners and wouldn’t make sense. The faster processing/shipping is nice, but kind of pointless if I’m not in a hurry to get my cards anyway.

    So, I still feel like COMC needs a cost-effective option for people like me who support the site on a daily basis and prefer to ship their cards in bulk with no urgency whatsoever. I understand the argument that I’m possibly purchasing from hundreds of different sellers and saving on all of those individual shipping fees, but the cards are all stored in one location when I’m buying them because the sellers have already paid the costs associated with consolidating them with COMC. That’s what makes the service great, among other things.

    If there’s an area COMC should be trying to squeeze more money out of, it most likely involves flippers & port sales. Allowing people to regurgitate the same inventory over and over again just doesn’t seem like it has any real benefit to the majority of customers.

    • They do not store them in penny sleeves, they have them in what I am assuming are 9 pocket pages. Now imagine 4 million cards in those pages and they have to go pull your 234 card order. The only way that could possibly be done in a timely matter is you purchased all of those cards from the same seller and the cards were from the same upload batch.
      I would highly recommend that COMC post a picture of some kind just to show what 4 million cards looks like. That alone should alleviate most of the complaints, there are some people that will never be happy even if it was free.

      • Not sure I’ve ever seen anyone post how the cards are stored, but it would definitely be interesting to learn more about it. Given that they are dealing with many different cards of different sizes and thicknesses, I’m not sure how they’d go about that.

        Regardless, I’m sure they have a pretty good organizational system in place to manage all of this inventory. This isn’t some dealer with a disorganized room full of boxes and binders. I’d wager to say that COMC could pull and ship a large order faster than your typical dealer on Beckett, if it weren’t for the volume of orders they likely have to deal with.

        Just to be clear, though, I didn’t really have a problem with paying 10 cents per card (during a promo) to ship out a bulk order. Double that, though, and it starts to become a lot more noticeable. I’ve been perfectly happy with the service and the costs associated with it so far. Just hoping to keep it that way ;)

      • That would be labor intensive and risky too. Packing and pulling cards from sheets can lead to damage. I hate pulling cards from sheets and could not imagine having to load them when new orders were received.

        I would assume they are in card boxes, say 5K boxes? This would take up more space, but should be safer and easier. I know they have moved at least once to a larger facility, which makes sense as the business (and inventory) grows. Now your guess is as good as mine as to how they are stored. Perhaps by player, perhaps by owner. I guess the storage system they use can have a great effect on how efficiently the cards are pulled come order time.

      • The item number has a lot to do with how the cards are stored, I would think. Beyond that, I envision large boxes that hold 5-10 550-count boxes within, rather than monster boxes, but I don’t think it’s obvious, whatever it is they do. I think the item number definitely plays a role, however.

  35. Personally I like the $3.99 flat rate for up to 10 cards. I’m the type of buyer who can take full advantage of this rate, since I live in Canada my usual shipping order would be 5 to 10 cards. The cards I buy are generally low dollar value, $10 or less, so I never request shipment for just 1 or 2 as it’s not worth the cost.

    I do understand the point made about new users who might want to try the site out by ordering 1 or 2 cards. You’re essentially increasing the single-card shipping rate by $1, but maybe the flat rate will encourage new users to shop around more and have multiple cards shipped at once. This would benefit both COMC and it’s sellers too.

    • It depends on the seller. eBay does a lot of things to try to reward sellers who don’t charge for shipping, but if you sell singles there, it really puts you at a disadvantage. When you price the cost of shipping into the card price, you can’t give a discount to buyers who get more than one card anymore.

      • Ebay is nothing but a joke!!! $3-5 for a single shipped card and most offer a discount at a crazy rate of $1 per card. That my friends is just a rip off. Now on comc u can buy from hundreds of sellers and never pay close to $1 a card. Some sellers cap on ebay which is good but not many that is how they pay there fees. The only thing that comc could do better is to put a cap on giant orders say $50 or some # like that, otherwise dont fix what is not broke!!

      • I am not a big fan of Ebay as much as I used to be but MOST sellers charge from free shipping to $3 for the first card and usually either .25 or .50 per card after.

    • Auctions are very rarely free shipping, when they are the starting price will include the shipping. Since Ebay is more fixed prices now there are a lot of listings with “free” shipping, you are still paying for the shipping with the fixed price. If Ebay is going to charge you fees on the shipping it is only common sense to raise the price to cover the shipping and offer the “free” shipping.

  36. My question for the masses…do you, your husband/wife/kids/significant other ever buy anything online or from the infomercials? You get whatever it is for $10.99 plus p/h (no longer s/h) and then a 2nd free but separate p/h? What has that really cost you in total, how many weeks did it take to get, and what did it really show up in?

    I know my wife purchased something recently at $19.99, I then asked her what it cost for shipping and she said it was $20 for shipping. When the package showed up a few weeks later, it weighed no more than 1 pound (so first class – and whatever bulk discounts the place gets) and it was in one of those plastic bag mailers. It probably cost them less than $4 for the shipping to us, so where did the remaining $16 go?

    Do you make as much of a stink over that as you do about this? How is it any different?

    • No…I wait for it to hit the As Seen On TV section at my local store and buy it there for half the TV price with no shipping.

  37. Oh my oh my this all to confusing. I will let you boys straighten this out in the meantime I will just keep making money and collecting disability checks thru the VA while you all figure out where to send your cards next and how to send them there. Perhaps I would be willing to pay some of the shipping expenses when someone wants to offer me 11% or more for my next port sale ad which BTW will be every Thursday. Sending some female intuition your way as to how to best deal with this shipping not shipping fiasco.

  38. I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you sellers. I know that my constant 50% bids can be a bit irritating at times but in these hard economic times it is great being able to afford all these fantastic cards through your sales. My two boys and i again commend each and every one of you and God Bless!

    • I have to admit there are times where I look at a 50% off bid on something I am already the cheapest on and bite my lip. But then I look on the bright side…”hey…someone is looking at my stuff” Then I counter the offer sometimes for a few cents less than my asking price and sometimes I do better.I rarely decline the offer outright because to me that tells the buyer that I don’t value the time they took to make the offer.

      • AAA – As a buyer, I appreciate the fact you respond to all offers. As a “low baller” buyer who usually offers the 50% I will buy more from the people who respond to my offers, rather than just decline them out right.

        Now – on to why I am the “low baller” so many sellers despise. Since it is an option, and there are numerous card related boards on the internet (several i am a member of), on which i am constantly seeing 50% off ads i never know who has “auto accept” on or off. Unfortunately, i do not have the time to look at all the various boards to try and detemine who has the option enable and who doesnt, so i will typically start at the 50%. i am not trying to be a “low balling jerk’” i am simply trying to possibly save myself a little bit. a seller may have a sale add posted on a board i missed. so thanks to all the sellers who respond!

      • The offer is all relative to the asking price and the value of an item. If the asking price is too high, maybe 50% off won’t even get it into the reasonable ballpark. If it’s already a good price, it doesn’t hurt to try to get a better deal. The worse a seller can do is say no.

        I agree with your thoughts about responding. Those that don’t counter are telling me they don’t care for my business. I might have offered low on something, but who knows what I am willing to offer or buy in the future. Those that are arrogant about it may never find out.

        One example is that I was making numerous offers on certified autographs of players who never did anything with their careers. I was stocking up on different players for my team. I figured the auto was worth a few bucks at most, regardless of the BV. This is not my normal buying pattern, but I wanted to get a signature from every player who appeared on the team. Many people accepted, some countered with reasonable counteroffers. A few blew me off and they won’t see anymore of my business.

        I won’t advertise what I spend on cards each month, but it is significant. I’m not saying any seller needs my purchases, but the seller who purposely pushes away buyers is a fool.

      • Remember, the site is called “Check Out My Cards” not “Buy All of My Cards.” Not everyone is interested in blowing out their inventory. If you want to take it personally, that’s your right, of course, but sometimes you’re asking for something a seller doesn’t want to do.

  39. As a very casual buyer who buys less often than I used to I get the feeling that COMC ownership is just taking all the money out of the company that they can until it dies. It honestly feels like buyers and sellers are nickle and dimed at every turn. I have seen too many prices changes whether an increase or a decrease. The site is inconsistent and that portrays a lack of professionalism. Even J.C. Penney has realized customers want constant prices. Figure out how to run your business and stick with it,

    Regardless of whether or not COMC ownership is bleeding the company, or nickle and diming, they have the created the image that is what they are doing. A company needs constancy and congruency or it will seize to exist. That is a fact.

    • The for sale prices are controlled 100% by the sellers and the “book” values are 100% controlled by Beckett. I am not sure what your first paragraph’s is trying to accomplish. If you are trying to imply that the site’s performance is declining you could not even be more remotely wrong. My sales are steadily going up and have been for the last 2 years, much more so in the last 6 months.

      • Actually no I wasn’t trying to imply that the site’s performance is declining. I was attempting to relay my opinion that is seems like the site is nickle and diming buyers and sellers. That constant fee changes create images of a companies financial situation that may be inaccurate.

        The sellers making more money is only relevant if it translates to COMC making money. In the original post if stated that bulk shipping as it stood was not financially viable. COMC has grown very big very fast and they have had to make a lot of changes to keep up with the expenses of growth. The original financial model “appears” to have not been scalable (evident by continued adaptions of the fee structures).

        Everything I said was strictly my opinion of how I view COMC. The only thing I was trying to accomplish is let the management / ownership understand why I have that opinion.

      • Dave,

        If you have the chance to get out from behind your keyboard I would recommend that you meet Tim Getsch of any of the COMC Staff at one of the shows that they attend to promote their site. Skepticism is healthy, but I will assure you that after spending a few minutes with them the passion that they have for this site and customer service will come shining through.

        COMC is still in the start up phase of its business and course corrections are going to be necessary. Tell me how many other business give their consignment sellers as much as we have here?

      • The restatement is appreciated. I hope you understand how it can be interpreted when you generically say “That is a fact.” Even if your argument is valid, saying something so definitely makes it tougher to consider objectively.

        COMC doesn’t make more or less money directly from what a card sells for. Their business model revolves around the submission of cards, the storage of cards, and the shipment of cards. The only place where there is an obvious margin for them is when money is cashed out, and the reason for that is to incentivize sellers to put the money back into the site. It works for me.

        Every fee change they have made has been to optimize the financial viability of the site. It’s statistically improbably that a business gets this right the first time around, because the way businesses grow is often different from the original plan. Pets.com’s biggest seller wasn’t pet food but that dopey sock puppet. All COMC did was lay the groundwork for shipping intermediation, and then based on our behavior, as sellers and buyers, they’ve made business decisions to increase the chances the site is profitable long term. The easiest way to do this is adjust the fees, either to reflect the actual cost of that action or to encourage/discourage us doing that action.

  40. Very unhappy with the new shipping. I have 150 cards that need to be shipped and paying over $20 is crazy, especially when they come in a small envelope with 2.00 postage. I agree there needs to be a cap on shipping or levels. 100-500 cards should be a flat rate, flat levels would be easy to understand.

  41. Most people see shipping as a cost they must pay, but most also don’t give a damn how the fee is calculated or what is built into the price. When sellers on any site, be it ebay, COMC, Beckett or any other location where you must pay to have your items shipped, I would guess the general expectation is that the fee will closely mirror actual costs. Buyers are not paying for some special service to have the cards shipped. It is a necessity of the type of buying. However, as a seller offering your items up to the world instead of just your home town like it used to be before the internet, this leads to increased sales for items that might have otherwise sat unsold. There is a benefit to selling online. Now you can sell those hated Yankees from your home in Seattle, where as before people just skipped over them with disgust at shows and shops.

    I look for sellers who will offer a reasonable combined shipping charge and often buy more items from them, rather than shopping around. I don’t expect to pay for the sellers entire listing fees, commissions, gas, time and other overhead type costs. I am more than willing to pay for packaging materials and postage. If you aren’t willing to absorb some of the costs of selling to get more per item, take your cards to a dealer who will give you 1/2 or less of the market value. They do this to offset some of their costs and still turn a profit! To gain that larger audience and accept a wider array of payment types, you will need to pay for those services. Who could accept credit cards back in 1985? Dealers who paid for that credit card service. Otherwise you were that cash & check only guy at the show who lost out of some of the business.

    How many times have you heard someone say that they paid $3 for something to be shipped and it came in a plain envelope with 45 cents postage. They equate that to a rip off and don’t care if the seller is trying to build in auction fees, paypal fees, their gas, cost of stamps, their time, wear and tear on their cars, electrical bill (sure, you need light to sell cards and list them on a computer, right?), etc. I think at some point, the seller needs to accept that there are costs associated with selling and that some of those costs can be passed on or built into purchase prices, but you can’t expect to make up all of your overhead costs in each sale.

    I don’t know what COMC figures their cost is on each order. I can’t imagine in varies too much unless you are talking about very large orders. Pulling 10 cards and packaging them is not that different than pulling and packaging 50 cards. I know they need to make money on their services, as the cards are all on consignment essentially. If they don’t turn a profit, the site goes away eventually. There is probably a happy medium somewhere in the middle. I would certainly love to see a cap on s/h charges through, as I tend to buy a lot of smaller value cards that aren’t worth buying otherwise and paying $10, $20 or more to eventually have them shipping almost makes it not worth doing.

    Looks like the turning point between bulk and new standard is 40 cards. If you order less than 40, “new” standard is cheaper. If you order more than 40 cards, bulk is cheaper. My current order is 52 cards, so I guess I would lose on that new standard deal. Sleeves and shipping time within a week or so doesn’t matter to me anyway, plus I am in the Seattle area, so mine come a little faster than someone waiting in Boston or Florida. Heck, I’d love a local pick-up option that will allow COMC to make the money they need to survive, but cut out the hassle (and fees) of shipping and packaging!!

    • My guess is that because of the per-card additional fee that the bulk of the labor is in the picking, which is unchanged if you get the cards in person.

      Not to pick nits, but the cards are in fact on consignment. COMC is just an aggregator of sellers’ stuff.

  42. I just viewed the pricing structure again. Looks like I made a math error. At 30 cards, the new standard fee structure starts to cost you more than it used to if you used bulk, not 40 cards. Keep it under 30 cards and you pay less.

    It does seem to penalize those who want to buy more cards, but you can build that nickel per card increase into your offer price I suppose.

  43. I like the Bulk shipping as I do not need the cards in sleeves. I am a collector and put my cards in binders so I must remove the sleeves in order for them to fit. I do buy special sleeves for the cards that I feel need a sleeve and that will fit in the pages without a wrinkle.
    I now have 184 cards waiting to ship and the standard shipping would be 38.79 and the bulk 31.10 for me a big savings. Even though COMC ships cards without sleeves with the Bulk option there packaging is great so that the cards do not get damaged. I know prices are going up for everything but for us who collect as a hobby the higher the price the less we are able to buy. It’s buy cards or buy other things needed. Please try to keep the hobby FUN.

  44. I am a long-time buyer and occasional flipper/seller. Buyers – quit whining. If it’s going to cost you X cents to have a card shipped, then factor X cents into your purchase. If it’s not a good deal, then don’t buy it. You can cry and moan about the fees, but the fact is that buying on this is an incredible BARGAIN (unless you are buying commons) and you are totally bluffing. You can say you’ll leave, but you’ll be back. The fact that I can thoroughly examine the condition of the card, FRONT AND BACK, to some degree of certainty, is amazing. I don’t just buy on COMC, I use it as a reference when buying from other sites. COMC is the best thing to happen to the card industry in a long, long time.

    One last thing – COMC is an American business that employs Americans. I gratefully pay their “shipping” fee which is actually shipping and handling. You are paying for an employee to pull the cards and prepare your package. And in most cases, it still works out to be a better deal than anywhere else. It is my privilege to use COMC’s incredible service. Thank you COMC for re-igniting my passion for card collecting after being gone for ten years and thank you for making collecting so much fun.

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