4/5 – How to Flip on COMC.com

Note – This week we are writing a series of blog posts covering several topics. When assessing the large volume of information that we want to communicate, it made sense not to simply pour it into one extremely large post, but to separate it out into bite-size chunks. Please consider each section in light of the others, and not as an independent post. The subjects we’ll be covering are:

1/5 – The Big Picture
2/5 – Design Goals for COMC.com
3/5 – Beta Testing New Markets
4/5 – How to Flip on COMC.com
5/5 – 5th Anniversary Special + Ad Campaign

4/5 – How to Flip on COMC.com

This is a post that we know a lot of people have been eagerly anticipating.

For every 1 person that uses the site to flip cards, there are more than 20 people that use the site exclusively for buying. So our challenge is to make the site more friendly to the buyers while still meeting the needs of our beloved flippers. The most common reason why shopping carts get abandoned is because users are surprised by added shipping costs. This is also one of our most common customer service questions. People simply forget to factor in shipping.

Integrating the shipping cost into the total item cost addresses this issue by streamlining the buying process… but we also want to support sellers who want to resell cards. Many sellers want to flip without taking on the additional overhead of paying for shipping that they do not intend to ever use. We will enable this by offering two user modes on the site.

Mode 1: Free Shipping Mode
This will be the mode for any guest visitors that are not logged into the site as well as for any new accounts created on COMC.com. The website won’t actually use the phrase “Free Shipping Mode” anywhere. That is just a name we are using to call this mode for the purposes of this blog. In Free Shipping Mode users will see the cost of shipping bundled into the listed price of items. Any items they buy will be “free” to ship in the sense that they have already paid the per-item pick+pack fee when they bought the item. They can therefore ship an unlimited number of items in their inventory or shopping cart for a flat $2.99, or they can use our new local pickup option to get the items for FREE.

Over the next year we will be adding more local pickup locations all over the US and Canada. We will introduce this in more detail in future posts.

Mode 2: Advanced Selling Mode
Once you are signed in to COMC.com there will be an option under My Profile & Options to switch into Advanced Selling Mode. In this mode you will not see bundled shipping or be charged shipping when you buy a card. You will however be responsible for the shipping cost of any item you decide to have shipped. You won’t be expected to pay the shipping in advance for instant purchases, offers, or portfolio purchases.

All account holders will have access to both modes and may switch freely between them to find the site experience that works best for them. Users in these two modes will be able to interact with each other effortlessly. Buyers in Free Shipping Mode will always see items at the cost it will take to get them in hand, yet they can still flip cards and make offers. Users in Advanced Selling Mode will be able to buy large volumes of cards without unnecessary overhead. They can reprice them to whatever they like, but will still have the option to have the items sent to them whenever they choose to pay the shipping cost.

Examples
Here are four brief examples of how these two modes interact.

1) A Consigner sells to a Guest buyer on the site.

2) A Consigner sells to a buyer in Advanced Seller Mode, who flips the card to a Guest buyer.

3) A Consigner sells to a buyer in Free Shipping Mode who flips the card to a Guest buyer.

4) A Consigner sells to a buyer in Free Shipping Mode… who flips it to a buyer in Advanced Selling Mode… who flips it to a Guest buyer.

Setting Asking Prices
We will post examples of how this will work, but the short explanation is that you will have two boxes where you can either control the price you want for an item or the price that will be visible to most buyers. When you edit one of the boxes the other one will automatically update so that you don’t have to do any mental gymnastics to set competitive prices or to make sure you are making a profit.

Making Offers
Another question a lot of people have is regarding how offers will work on COMC.com. The two-mode system actually simplifies things for each user. Buyers in Free Shipping Mode and in Advanced Seller mode will both be able to freely make offers, but each mode is tailored more to what different users value about the process.

A user in Free Shipping mode can simply make an offer without any math. “Will you take this price for the item, delivered?” The site does all the calculations and presents the appropriate offer to the seller: “Will you take this price for the item?” Sellers can still negotiate and counteroffer just like always, and will never be expected to subsidize the shipping costs.

Example:
– A card is priced at $5, and the seller’s minimum offer is set to 60%.
– A buyer sees the item listed at $5.25, and tries to make an offer of $3 “delivered”.
– The buyer is automatically informed that this offer is too low, and that the minimum offer is $3.25 (calculated as 60% of $5.00, plus $0.25 shipping; even through the “make an offer” feature the seller is not expected or required to contribute anything to the shipping cost).
– The buyer makes a new offer of $3.25 “delivered”.
– The seller receives an offer of $3.00 for their card (the other $0.25 will go towards shipping the item if the offer is accepted). If the seller likes this price they can accept. If they don’t they can reject or counter and continue the negotiation.
– Counteroffers will automatically respect the buyers mode without the seller needing to know anything about the buyers preferences.

A user in Advanced Selling Mode has an experience geared towards making many offers, purchasing ports, and flipping cards. Advanced Seller Mode users do not see any bundled shipping costs and so can make effective calculations very easily.

Example:
– A card is priced at $5, and the seller’s minimum offer is set to 60%.
– A buyer in Advanced Selling Mode sees the item listed at $5 and tries to make a $2.50 offer with no shipping.
– The buyer is automatically informed that this offer is too low, and that the minimum offer is $3.00 (calculated as 60% of $5.00).
– The buyer makes a new offer of $3.00
– The seller receives an offer of $3.00. The seller is never expected to subsidize shipping in either case, and the buyer in Advanced Selling Mode doesn’t need to pay for shipping that they don’t intend to ever use.

COMC is an amazing and wholly unique platform for flipping items. Some have suggested we decrease certain fees and add a transaction fee every time an item changes hands, but we really feel that such a fee would punish something very special that we’ve created here. We love flippers, and we are very proud to be a site that supports flipping so effortlessly.

82 thoughts on “4/5 – How to Flip on COMC.com

  1. Every card will show the extra 25 cents even if it is a flipped card? And as long as we are on the subject could you explain why some Amazon sales cards can stay off the site for days and then suddenly end up back for sale? For those whom are unaware you can see pending Amazon sales show up as ‘Items Not For Sale’ in your dashboard.

    • For buyers in the new ”Free Shipping” mode we outline here, every card will show the price to have the card shipped. For buyers who switch their settings to Advanced Selling mode, cards will not display with bundled prices – the prices will look just like they do today: a card that you can purchase, and pay for shipping later if you choose to.

      For Amazon orders, we occasionally place items on temporary hold as Amazon processes the payment (their system informs us of the purchase before the payment is done processing). If the Amazon payment happens to fail, we remove the temporary hold automatically and the item goes back up for sale at whatever price it was listed at. This helps to prevent the same item from accidentally selling simultaneously on two platforms.
      Thanks,
      Jeremy

    • Yep. Amazon orders are locked until the payment is finalized. It sometimes takes a few days. If the payment fails or is canceled, the items are put back up for sale.

  2. A++++++
    Yes….may be confusing to some at first…but in the end it makes perfect sense and as you say will appeal to both the “free shipping” mindset and those who don’t value that as much…
    And as to your last point… THANK YOU… a big F- to the thought of transaction fees.

    We still won’t go for the 25 cent consignment fee…HOWEVER… the system as you have it set up will encourage us to buy/flip/ship more than ever…especially once coins and other collectibles end up on the site.
    For those of us who collect different things… I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to sell a 1960’s Willie Mays card and turn around and in a couple of clicks use that money to buy a 1957 Proof Set. Incredible!! Exciting! (soon to be 39 year old jumping up and down in his office!)

  3. So basically its the same as now in the advanced mode correct. But when we go to sell the card we will need to jump it up .25. Correct

  4. I’m happy to see these changes. I think they are well thought out and Jeremy did a great job explaining them. With that being said, there’s one question I still have: will shipping be already paid on any cards currently in my inventory when this is implemented? I would imagine it’s not since we flippers are essentially in Advanced Selling Mode now, but I’d like to make sure this is correct.

  5. Here is my question….
    Let’s say over the course of a few months for whatever reason someone buys some cards in advanced mode and some in free shipping mode (I think you will get alot of this as people test the different systems) …then they think about getting some cards shipped….is there going to be an easy way to tell which cards have shipping paid and which don’t?

    • Yep, we keep track of all that. On your pending shipment the items with paid shipping would have $0.00 for S&H. The rest would have the corresponding per-item shipping.

      • Wonderful….
        Thanks Tim. Be proud. If this works the way it is supposed to…you will blow away every other site out there…..and you might even change our mind about the submission fee :)
        Have a great night!

  6. Wow, this is better than anything I came up with. Nice work.

    I’m concerned about what the card pricing page will look like with the new design. If there are now two boxes for each card, I am concerned that hitting “Enter” will not go to the next card, but instead the next box. Does that make sense? The interaction where I type a price, hit “Enter,” type another price, etc. is very important to when I price cards :) Thanks.

  7. I presume you were answering my questions. So then the buyers will see a flippers card with the extra 25 cents regardless if the flipper paid that fee already?

    • Correct. A guest buyer will always see a card at the “quarter-added” shipped price. If the guest buys the card from a flipper who is in “Free Shipping” mode, that flipper has already paid the fee so the guest is already seeing the shipped price (shipping isn’t added twice). If the guest buys from a buyer in “Advanced Selling” mode, that seller has not paid the fee but the guest still sees the card with the fee added.
      Thanks,
      Jeremy

  8. For some reason this is not sounding all that simple, but i’m on board we will just see how she goes. I think I am a flipper so I would fall into the advanced mode, just not sure if I have to switch over to free shipping mode to sell. Like do I need to buy in advamced and sell in free shipping? Or if I need to raise my prices or if its automatic. It sounds like its automatic. WOW

  9. Ok. I only send in cards to sell and i flip cards. I never have cards shipped to me ,So i should be in advanced selling mode at all times Correct?

  10. Oh My God I can’t believe how dumb this is. My head is spinning trying to keep track of all this. We really are going to have two modes. With offers, sometimes you will have to do math and sometimes you don’t. All of this to push off $.25 one way or another. Just unbelievable. They keep talking about free shipping or not, but even free shipping is going to cost you $2.99 so it’s not actually free anyway, we are talking about pushing a quarter one way or another and to do that they have created multiple modes. I was having a hard enough time trying to stay with this from example 2 to example 3, but then example 4 is 4 minutes long and I gave up. I can’t believe they say this is simplifying things.

    It’s like someone got in their head that free shipping sells more, and it may in certain instances, but these are sports cards and everyone who buys or sells in this hobby is used to paying something for shipping. We are not buying sunglasses or dvd players here. But its not free anyway, its $2.99 so the whole psychology of this won’t work anyway. If you really want to make it simple, why not just make it $2.99 for 1 card and $3.99 for up to 10 and that will cover 99% of all transactions. Stop calling $2.99 shipping free shipping when its not. The logic here is unreal.

    • You bring up a question that I have. In the future will COMC be going to free shipping? and if so what will that fee change be, if known? Also while im talking It does seem complex but so did driving a car at first. I think we all can adjust to the changes.

      • They are talking about “free shipping”, but it is not free, it is $2.99 unlimited shipping except sellers now be charged 25 cents out of their sale price per card to give the buyers their not free “free shipping”

      • You are not charged 25 cents out of your sale. You set the sale price and that’s what you earn when the card sells.

    • Jeff, the deal is done for now. Time will tell if they made the correct call. Tim is on record as saying if it does not work they will change it back. At this point we can only hope he made a wise decision. Our numbers at the end of next month will answer that. They are going to need a massive boost from the National to even come close to July’s numbers. If they can pull it off I will be the first one to publicly acknowledge I was wrong.

      • We would hope you would allow the advertising and new website to take effect instead of comparing July to what is traditionally the slowest month for sales of the year, with only one sport active, very few new products available, families taking their vacations, and students either preparing for or returning to school. Basically, money is being spent elsewhere. Perhaps comparing September to July would be more accurate.

  11. Tim, this solution sounds absolutely stunning in its simplicity and functionality. Fantastic job. My personal feeling is that a single shipping charge (i.e. $2.99) for buyers with an unlimited number of cards allowed per shipment may increase overall sales dramatically.

    I’m excited about where your company is heading, appreciate your vision, and with you 100% regardless of any ups or downs we may experience along the way.

    Keep thinking big ;)

  12. I still think the easiest way to stop the complaints about shipping fees and still keep the sellers/flippers happy is this….

    When a buyer purchases a card, and clicks the “Ship” button, he/she will be advised that .20 is automatically taken out of his/her account. That way the shipping cost wont “hit them all at once” when they decide to ship.

    If at any point before the card is shipped he/she decides to flip it, the .20 is returned to their account balance.

      • Clearly, it’s a poor choice of words, but we’ve already established that the concept of subsidized shipping pays for itself. One can infer from that that making it complicated by automatically removing a service charge every time a card is purchased would not be easy to understand either.

        Having what is essentially a regular and advanced mode puts everyone in two buckets. I can’t think of a simpler way to address the solvable problems that have been pointed out so far this week.

  13. Not going to please everyone I suppose, but I’m certainly satisfied. The idea of applying that quarter fee to a separate buying mode, while retaining the current functionality for sellers and flippers in another buying mode, was something I suggested virtually verbatim in the Preparing for Growth post. You could look it up. I don’t know if that’s what put this idea in the heads of you folks, but it’s such a tremendous idea that I’m going to go ahead and take full credit for this development anyway. You’re welcome everybody :)

  14. I like what’s been laid out here (except the raise in fees obviously).
    I think the changes make sense and aren’t overly complicated to understand. In fact from a what you see point of view its not complicated at all as the complicated stuff will all be hidden behind the scenes. You’ll see exactly what you want to see. When selling you’ll get the price you’ve set. When buying you’ll pay the price you see. And for those who like doing the maths themselves they can change to the advanced mode.

    On a related but separate note I’ve read a lot of comments over the last few days about how COMC should just be for vintage cards or cards what are worth $2 or more and that the site was never meant for commons. I’d like to offer an alternative viewpoint :
    I don’t live in the US. I live in the UK. I collect baseball cards and am primarily a set builder. There are no card shops in the UK (well none which deal in US sports) so the only way I can get cards is via the internet. Sites like sportlots where base cards/inserts are dirt cheap will only offer delivery to the US/Canada and have no plans to do otherwise. COMC is by far the best way for me to pick up individual commons that I need

    I currently budget to spend max of approx $0.40-$0.55 a card including shipping (ie $0.20-$0.35 purchase price) for the majority of the commons I want. With the fee increases I will no odubt expect this to raise slightly but even paying $0.60 for a common is still a lot cheaper than using ebay for individual cards : $0.99 minimum price plus international shipping and I’d be lucky to get away with under $4-$5. I do buy bulk lots from ebay when I can but even so by the time shipping is added it still works out at $0.50 a card at the absolute minimum and that still leaves plenty of holes in my collection……

    I also sell on COMC and the majoity of cards are commons. I’m not looiking to make a huge amount of money (anything I do make I use to fund the majority of my buying like a lot of other sellers). If I make $0.05-$0.10 profit on most of the commons I send in I’m happy.

    Obviously international users are in the minority and the majority of users are from the US so COMCs focus should always be ont he US market, but the fact that COMC offer an affordable option to international users buying and selling commons is something I for one am extremely grateful for. No doubt there are also plenty of collectors in the US who dont have access to card shops and who want to be able to view the card they are buying who feel the same way.

    Even with the fee increase I will send in my commons and will continue to do so unless it becomes completely un-profitable.

    And to those who don’t think people will pay $1 for an individual common I suggest you go on ebay and search the completed listings……

    Ok so that was far longer than I intended it to be but basically I love what COMC is at the moment and from what I’ve heard here I think I will continue to love it when the changes are made. It seems that COMC have listened to a lot of the critisms / negativity from the previous blog posts and then thought about how they can adjust things to make it easier to understand.
    Now if we could just tackle this raise in processing fee…… ;-)

    • I think that’s what 5/5 of gonna do…the increased exposure resulting in the increased processing fee…just my guess..

  15. I would say these two modes will be way too confusing to new buyers, but since you do zero advertising to attract any, it doesn’t matter. But if the sheep love it, great, lol.

  16. So the .75 free storage..how is that going to work? Is that a card that sells for .75 in free shipping mode or advanced mode? Like would the card be $1 in free shipping mode and still be free shipping or would it have to be .75 in that mode, meaning .50 in advanced mode?

    • I asked this in a previous post and Jeremy replied indicating that it is based on what you set as the price; in your example the $.75 not what the buyer would see as the price.

      • cocoscards is correct: free storage will be based on the set asking price of the card. A card that a seller sets at $0.75 or less will not be charged storage, regardless of what any buyer sees the card price at.
        Thanks!
        Jeremy

  17. Thanks Tim and COMC team! I think this answers a lot of questions for seller/flippers on the site and makes perfect sense to me.

    Also, I’m starting to buy in to the “built in shipping” concept for buyers based on the different modes outlined above. Re-sellers won’t have to worry about paying $.50 for a $.25 item, and the end buyers would be paying and willing to pay the $.50 anyway for their more common card to be shipped to them.

    One thing I did want to mention based on my personal experience (and I’m sure you’ve taken it into consideration in your evaluations) is that a lot of shopping carts are abandoned for other reasons other than shipping charges. As someone who buys to both flip on the site, and to ship cards home when I need them for my personal collection or to resell offsite, I often fill up my cart from many sellers when i see a card or two I like from them at good prices. I then go back later and look at the seller’s whole port to try to put together a larger lot from their cards that they might be willing to take an offer on. Many times I don’t see anything else and will just abandon the purchase or clear my cart from those items. I also leave things sitting in my cart for long periods of time and check back on those sellers when they have more items listed (I have been building a lot from one seller for a month or so that’s just been sitting in my cart). Not sure if there are other out there that do this, but just thought I’d bring up another perspective for your abandon/canceled purchase analysis that is unrelated to shipping charges popping up.

    So…….great work on the new shipping/flipping scheme, now you just have to cancel the proposed change from $.20 to $.25 for processing, and you’ll keep me 100% on board!

    Thanks!

  18. Hello,
    I just created an account on here I’m new. I have one of those 20.00 off cards how many cards can I send in for free. Nice videos. In video 1 the consigner is he in advanced or free shipping or does it make no difference. Thanks for the help. Hope you guys get this the library computers are very weird.

      • Hi, Finn. Sorry we weren’t able to address your question sooner. To the consigner it makes no difference what mode they are in when they price a card. The two modes will only affect what price a buyer sees when they go to purchase a card.
        Thanks!
        Jeremy

      • Sorry, I missed that. If you have a $20 off coupon you can send in 85 standard cards for free with our current four week service and 80 cards for free with our new One Month rates which will go into effect in September/October. You can still send in more cards than that if you like and we’ll just knock $20 off the total processing fee.
        Thanks,
        Jeremy

  19. All i can say, is you must have the best group of code writers in the world to incorporate all these instances, I have always been impressed with how quickly and well this website is programmed.
    My hats off to you Tim and your staff for your abilities.

  20. This is actually an interesting solution, but it is sad that the site has to be “idiot-proofed” for people that don’t read the shipping terms before they put cards in their cart.

    My question is: will there still be a bulk shipping option in advanced mode? If it’s going to 25 cents per card no matter what, that’s kind of a serious increase for a buyer like me. I mostly buy cards priced at $1-2 and hold them in my account until a few hundred build up then I get bulk shipping. If that option goes away, there’s a 10 cent increase in the price of every card…insignificant for a higher priced card but for most of the cards I buy that’s a 5-10% price increase.

  21. Thank you …Thank you ….mind is at rest now with what to do with flipping.

    That is one easy solution …..I Salute You!!! A round of A&W Root Beer for everyone!

  22. Would the masses agree or think that we (mostly sellers/semi flippers/shippers) should create a 2nd account which would be a buying one? I know a lot of folks did this on ebay to cover feedback on items purchased they wanted to flip. Its not the same here, but I would think that we/me/you might want to keep our purchases that are to ship in a different account than the ones we want to flip (and we wouldn’t have to worry about turning on or off the advanced buying thing). It might get confusing to know what you want to ship as you keep adding cards to your portfolio even with the numerous amounts of filters and options.

    I have around 10 cards that I would like to eventually ship to me, some are oversized (graded/already in top loaders) and have the extra oversized shipping charge, other are just regular cards. Now, if I wanted to send them to me, under the changes if I waited, would they all be hit with only 0.25 and not the 0.40 of 0.95 each plus the the extra 0.25? I’d just like to try and figure out if it would be better to have them shipped now or later price wise.

    • just to clarify I just did a mock shipment and it would cost me $4.74 currently for the 6 cards I would mail (5 are regular and one is adding .95 for oversized.) for the best. If I waited would it then be 2.99 + 0.25 per card and also the 0.95 for a total of $5.44 or $4.49 for the 6 if you don’t factor in the oversized additional shipping charge that is currently on the site?

    • Sound Good just limit the transfers because tranfering is not allowed I heard. I don’t no if it would matter if there both your account.

    • Thank you for the videos. Very informative to me, a possible new seller.

      However, I would like to request a FAQ page, especially in response to the popular and key concerns raised in the Reply sections to each of your blogs. This way, we don’t have to scroll through to find the clear and exact answer. Thank you!

  23. When are these changes taking place? One of the biggest issues I run into is that buyer do not want to pay $3 shipping for a card that cost $2.

    • Hi, Brian. We’ve postponed the shipping rate adjustment for a couple weeks while we test the new code. Expect to see this implemented in mid-August.
      Thanks,
      Jeremy

  24. I was just curious since I have continued to use the CheckOutMyCards Price Editing tool that you released a few years ago to price all of my inventory and make mass changes to my prices if that tool will still work after these changes have been put in place?

    • Hi, npbaker1.
      The Bulk Price Editior is long overdue for a tune-up, and releasing a new version of it is part of the relaunch plan. I honestly don’t know yet what our support plans are for the current Editor. I’ll find out.
      Thanks,
      Jeremy

  25. Have these changes become active yet? I love the idea behind this as it allows everyone to make the moves they want. As an aspiring store owner, this is a wonderful way for me to build capital by flipping cards. It is rather pointless for me to purchase a card, have it mailed to my home, then turn around and mail it back to you to resell.

    Of course, I am new to this website so everything I just said may not make sense.

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