Welcome Back Nathan Richards, COMC Communications Manager

It’s Good to be Back

While I know it’s been announced in the forums, and some of you might have seen me responding to emails or answering your calls in the last three weeks, I have not yet formally introduced myself. I am Nathan Richards, Communications Manager at COMC.

My name might be familiar to a few of you, I worked Customer Service at COMC from the summer of 2012 to the fall of 2013. I’ve spent the last few weeks reacquainting myself with the ins and outs of COMC, and I am looking forward to reintroducing myself to all of you. I am here to make sure that we have clear and open lines of communications between COMC and our fierce and loyal users.

In the next few weeks I will be working with Tim and Julia to answer a lot of long standing questions and to resolve a number of customer concerns that we have been hearing. My goal is to make sure that we are building the best company using all of the insights from our users and employees. Additionally, I will be on social media, in the forums, and answering email and calls along with the rest of our customer service team.

Goodbye to Moe

Yesterday was Customer Service Agent Maurice (Moe) Smith’s last day with us. He had been with us for some time, working first in the Identification Department, and most recently he was an important member of the customer service team, handling email and many of our social media accounts. We wish him well in his future endeavors.

Vintage Enhancements & Items Stored Remotely

COMC Buyers, we have a couple exciting changes to announce.

Items Stored Remotely
Yesterday we updated COMC to let you know when items are not currently stored near our Redmond, WA headquarters. For example, cards that are consigned through our Canadian processing facility may take a month or two to migrate down to our US headquarters. While the items are still in Canada, we can’t ship them as quickly. The website now indicates which items are stored remotely, and it doesn’t let you request expedited shipping for these items. We recommend using our Standard or Registered shipping options if you have any remote items in your shopping cart or shipment request.

Vintage Enhancements
Over the coming months you will start seeing some enhancements to how we process vintage trading cards. We have noticed that on average, cards that are pre-1980 sell for twice as much and twice as fast as modern cards. We want to make this experience even better.

1957 Topps #20 - Hank Aaron [VG] - Courtesy of COMC.comFirst off, we are partnering with Dean’s Cards to offer the largest selection of scanned vintage cards on the internet. Both of our sites currently offer a little more than 500,000 vintage cards each. COMC.com will be the first website to ever offer more than 1 million scanned vintage cards with one flat shipping fee.

We are just starting to test some items now, and we will soon offer Dean’s entire vintage inventory. You will be able to use your COMC store credit to purchase any of Dean’s items, and his team will ship those items to us every day. We will then separate the items into their corresponding orders, so you don’t have to pay extra for shipping.

You will notice that Dean’s scans look a little different than our traditional scans, and also Dean’s team has provided more detailed condition information. We are working on a strategy to offer similar condition details for vintage items that are consigned with us. Stay tuned for more updates.

This is just the first step we are taking to towards becoming the premier website for buying and selling vintage cards.

Mailbox Announcement

Hello COMC Nation! We recently sent an email to those members of the COMC Nation who have ever used our Mailbox service. This email was to let those Mailbox users know that some changes were being made to the Mailbox service, and that these changes were going to take effect on March 7th.

If you didn’t receive that email or you have never used the Mailbox before, please check out this link (COMC Mailbox FAQ) that explains the service and details the changes:

Unfortunately, there was one issue that we neglected to discuss in that email that we wanted you to let everyone know about – so, with that in mind, we sent out another email and we also wanted to highlight that issue on the Blog.

We’re talking about “Bonus Cards” – those extra cards that sellers sometimes send with the card(s) you purchased. As we have done in the past, we will process ALL the cards that come in under your name at $0.50 per card, with a $2.00 minimum per package..

While you may still donate any “unwanted” cards to Charity, we will no longer reimburse your processing fees.

Please note that it’s your responsibility to urge your sellers to either not send bonus cards or mark them with a big “X” to signify they are just spacers or packing material. Cards that are so marked will be disposed of by the Mailbox team.

If you do receive “bonus cards” and they get deposited into your portfolio, please remember this: you have a COMC account and are able to price any unwanted cards for sale on the site. And, with the processing at only $0.50/card, this makes selling and recouping your processing fees that much easier.

As always, stayed tuned for the latest news and developments at our FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Instagram pages.

 

Where in the world did Tim go?

10 millionA lot has happened since my last check in. January turned out to be a pretty good month. Many people reported having their best month ever. Also, on Friday night we crossed 10 million items actively for sale. This is quite an accomplishment. Collectively we continue to set records for the largest variety of trading cards offered under one physical roof. Way to go COMC Nation!

Tim’s Time Off

Tim with childhood best friend Pete

Tim with childhood best friend Pete

I am glad for everything positive that happened while I was gone. I generally don’t like to publicize when I take vacations, but that wasn’t really an issue in 2014 because I didn’t take any. Well, technically I headed back to Minnesota on Christmas eve 2014 to start my first vacation in more than a year.

All 5 of Tim's nieces and  nephews

All 5 of Tim’s nieces and nephews

After two weeks in Minnesota and Colorado, I came back to Seattle with a “gift” from my nieces and nephews. Unfortunately, it was the kind of gift that kept me bedridden for a week.

At this point I was 3 weeks behind on email. I spent most of the next week taking care of stuff at the office, and then I had another one week business/personal trip.

Tim's brother Terry playing a recently restored pinball machine from their childhood

Tim’s brother Terry playing a recently restored pinball machine from their childhood

I went to Georgia to visit my brother and his wife for the first time in a couple years, and I took a little detour to catch an NBA game. This is a necessity since Seattle lost the Sonics.

Tim at an NBA game

Tim at an NBA game

Needless to say, I am still a bit behind on email and a few other things.

Status Update

Now to give you an update on the top requests that our customer service team has been receiving.

Auctions
Around Christmas, we gave you a sneak peak of COMC Auctions. Many of you have been curious when and how we will roll them out to the public. We are still wrapping up some loose ends to make sure we are doing everything the correct way. This will take at least another couple months. We may selectively launch some more test auctions in the meantime. Once we do start allowing you to run your own auctions, we will gradually roll it out. For example, there will be a limit to the number of auctions each user can run. We don’t want to flood the market with more auctions than it can handle. As we see how the market is responding to auctions, we will adjust the limits. The Auctions feature is just one of several big improvements we are working on this year.

Website Issues
There are two known issues on the website that we are tracking down right now. Both issues appear to have been introduced when we made some upgrades just before Black Friday. The first issue is causing some computers to sporadically get new shopping carts. If this happens to you, please contact us, and we can restore the items in your cart. We have not yet found a consistent way to reproduce the problem, but we have added some code to help us track it down. The second issue is a timeout error when trying to search from the Inventory Manager section of the website. This appears to be a regression from the database upgrade we made. We are searching for a workaround to this issue. Until then, you might be able to work around this issue by searching your port, and editing prices from the item details page. This is not ideal, but it might work for some of you.

Response Times on Escalations
Um… Yes. I was on vacation. I am back now. If you are still waiting for a response to something, please contact us again, and we will make sure you get a response more quickly.

Time to Print Checks
In the past when the company was smaller, I processed all checks myself as the requests came in, and there was plenty of time for them to be delivered within 2 weeks of the cash-out request. As we’ve grown, this now goes through our accounting system that is structured around the print date rather than the delivery date. While the new system is a much better process internally and has freed me to spend more of my time on things you really care about, unfortunately, it can sometimes take a bit more time. We will be updating the website to reflect that checks will be mailed within 10 business days of the cash-out request.

Catalog Progress
Thank you for your patience as we continue to improve our catalog. Even though it has room for improvement, many people have still been able to post their best months ever. At this point we are working on the long tail. We estimate that 96.5% of the data has been entered, and we still have more to clean up. We ran some good challenges in December to help us clean up the data, but I haven’t incorporated the results into the catalog yet because of my time off. I expect to get that done in the next few weeks.

Some people have asked why we have done work on other areas of the site when the catalog is not done yet. The short answer is that we have limited resources, and the catalog will never be “done.” Also, not everyone in the company has the necessary skills to contribute to the catalog. In any case, we expect to always invest in improving the catalog. Sometimes I may choose to make unrelated improvements to the site because they have potential to increase our available resources. This will in turn allow me to have more resources to put back in the catalog. I fully expect our catalog to be superior to any other trading card catalog in the near future. The amount of resources we have available will determine how near that future might be.

Setting Expectations
2014 was by far our most challenging year. We basically had to re-invent ourselves. In doing so, I had to set the course for COMC and rally the troops to go there. While we did not accomplish every goal we set out to hit, we are now stronger than ever. As Confucius said, “If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it’s OK.”

Now for 2015 I want to focus on under-promising and over-delivering. We still have another big year ahead of us, but we don’t have all of the time crunches of 2014. 2015 is going to be an exciting year. I look forward to the next phase of the COMC journey.

Introducing our new “Select” Processing Service

Hello COMC Nation! As 2014 comes to a close, COMC is getting ready to make 2015 our best year ever.

We’re close to hitting the 10 million card mark, our card catalog transition is over 95% complete, and we’ve recently introduced Auctions, a feature the COMC Nation had been asking us to bring to COMC for quite some time. These are some of the positive developments we’ve seen in a year filled with challenges.

Probably the only challenge we didn't have to face in 2014...

Probably the only challenge we didn’t have to face in 2014…

On top of these developments, our processing teams have seen some great improvements, as we’re now seeing cards that are submitted via our Basic Processing service being deposited into user portfolios on an average of 25 days after being received.

With this and the requests we’ve been receiving to have more Processing options available to our users, we’re ready to introduce a new processing service for our users – a service we’re calling “Select Processing“.

  • Processing Time: 2 weeks or less
  • Price Per Item: $0.50
  • $2 minimum submission
  • Standard sized cards only. For graded, encased, booklets, oversized, sports poker chips, coins or pins continue to use Premium..
  • A 50¢ upgrade charge is required to list a Select card for more than $100.

Minor Basic Processing Adjustment
Along with this new Select service we are also making a slight adjustment to our Basic service. We will start enforcing the $0.05 fee to remove toploaders. If we have to scan basic items in toploaders because they are very expensive, fragile, or thicker than 3.5mm (138pt), we will start charging an extra $0.25. For these types of items, please use either Select or Premium processing.

As things return to normal at COMC, we will continue to evaluate other processing options we might be able to offer COMC Nation. As always, stayed tuned for the latest news and developments at our FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Instagram pages.

Test Auctions & Win a Shopping Spree

If you haven’t tried out our new auction system. Now is a great time to kick the tires. We have more than 400 auctions that end tomorrow, and we will be starting hundreds more that end on December 25th.

COMC auctions are refreshingly simple. When you win auctions, the items transfer into your account within minutes of the auction ending. If you don’t have enough store credit in your account when the auction closes, that is OK. As soon as your account has sufficient store credit, the items will automatically transfer into your account within seconds. And as always, you get flat rate shipping on unlimited items, or you can put items you win back up for sale instantly.

Win a Boxing Day Shopping Spree
Go test out placing a bid. On December 26th, we will be issuing $1,000 worth of shopping sprees. 50 different users that have placed bids will win a $20 Boxing Day Shopping Spree. You will get one entry for every different auction you bid on, and you will also get one entry for every dollar you spend on auctions that you win.

Auctions to Watch
2014 Topps High Tek TEKtonics Diffractor #TD-CR - Cal Ripken Jr. /50 - Courtesy of COMC.com 2014 Topps High Tek TEKtonics Diffractor #TD-CR – Cal Ripken Jr. #33/50

Here is a must-have for serious Cal Ripken collectors. This is a true /50. There are no parallels of this card. Only 50 collectors can add this card to their collection.

2014 Topps High Tek Autographs Cyan Printing Proof #HT-NR - Nolan Ryan /1 - Courtesy of COMC.com2014 Topps High Tek Autographs Cyan Printing Proof #HT-NR – Nolan Ryan #1/1

For Nolan Ryan collectors, you have a rare opportunity to pick up a 1/1 on-card autograph.

2014 Panini Limited Rookie Signatures Black #158 - Troy Niklas /1 - Courtesy of COMC.com2014 Panini Limited Rookie Signatures Black #158 – Troy Niklas /1

Notre Dame fans? Want to speculate on a rookie? Here is a 1/1 autographed rookie card of Arizona Cardinals tight end Troy Niklas.

2014-15 Panini Totally Certified Jerseys Purple Die-Cut #76 - Andrew Wiggins /99 - Courtesy of COMC.com2014-15 Panini Totally Certified Jerseys Purple Die-Cut #76 – Andrew Wiggins /99

Great opportunity to pick up a jersey card of the leading candidate for rookie of the year, Andrew Wiggins.

Auctions & Specials

COMC Reflection

It’s nearing the end of the year, which is a great time for reflection and contemplation. Looking back on 2014 with all its ups and downs, there is one thing we appreciate most – YOU.  That you’ve had our backs in our most difficult year has been the greatest gift of all.

AuctionsAuction Stock Image

This is exciting.  You have asked us for the ability to do auctions for years. So we are testing this functionality.  We still have a lot of work to do, but we hope to allow you to run your own auctions in the near future.  In the meantime, test out our auctions, pick up some new product, and give us your feedback.

boxing-day-sale-22279946
Boxing Day – Free Promotions & Free Shipping

In honor of Boxing Day (Canada’s Black Friday), we will allow sellers to run free Promotions & we will offer buyers free shipping on 30 items or more from Thursday, December 25th – Wednesday, December 31st.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!