There are many great sites out there for finding cards that people have posted themselves. So today I decided to find a bunch of cards of one of my favorite players.
I first went to the Beckett Marketplace and pretty quickly found 102 cards that I wanted. The problem was that they were all split across 35 different sellers. My total shipping came to $90.07.
With our service you always get combined shipping because everything is stored in our warehouse. For 102 cards my shipping would have been $28.25 on our site, and if I use a free account and wait until the last week of the month, I can get that shipping down to $22.80 with the bulk shipping discount.
Next I tried Sportlots where I found 52 cards that I wanted. Here the cards where spread across 19 different sellers. They really try to offer extremely cheap shipping. Yet the shipping still came to $24.37 for their budget service. With our service the shipping would have only been $15.75 and it would have been at least as good as their premium shipping service.
Finally I tried eBay where I found 25 cards that I wanted. Unfortunately the 5 sellers were asking $5+ for cards that I could get for $0.50 on the other sites. In any case, shipping would have $25.45 for the 25 cards. With our service shipping on 25 cards is only $9.
With other services shipping fees very quickly add up and are hard to keep under control. With COMC.com you can count on quality shipping for around a quarter a card. This is $0.25 to $0.75 per card less than the other sites. These savings allow buyers to pay less out of pocket while sellers are putting more into their pocket. Ahh… the magic of efficiency. I love this hobby, and I love working hard to make Check Out My Cards a great service for my fellow collectors.
Hey, no doubt its good for the buyer who see a lot that they want.
Sellers on EBay bumped the shipping fees to compensate for the fees that Ebay charges.
COMC is good for buyers and potentially good for sellers if there is enough volume.
Too bad we can’t see the sales as they happen. It would be nice to see if there are
a sale here and there, 10 day, 100 a day, 1000 a day, 10000 a day. If it’s over 1000 it
would be enough to see the top 1000 sales. Even the last 100 sales as an ongoing thing
with the date/time they occur with the item sold and the value of the sale would help.
For now the only published stats are our quarterly stats. You can see that last quarter we sold more than 200,000 cards and there are less than 100 days in a quarter. So we have been averaging more than 2,000 cards sold per day for the past quarter.
There are a number of reasons why we don’t publish the actual sales results. One of the main reasons is that a lot of people flip cards. They generally don’t want other people to know what they paid for a card they are trying to resell. You are free to let people know hat you bought or sold cards for, but we don’t currently have plans to do that for you.
OK, don’t display the information for cards that stay in port, but rather
are actually send to a buyer then it won’t affect the flippers.
With Ebay I can see what is selling THERE and what it sold for even if I did not
bid on it. Seems not to have hurt them and gives me a good idea of what the
visitors there are paying. Granted, given the delay between cards sent to
you and there posting I’m not as likely to be able to take advantage of that
information in the same way as I could there, since I can post immediately
there, but I can still read the trends and use that information to weigh
whether or not my cards would likely sell at a price that will actually yield a
profit to me.
My guess is that, in exchange for providing BV, Beckett gets to own sales data. They can have it. Accurate publication of sales data will cause prices to drop, because no one will want to pay more than what they’ve already sold for.
That’s why I love this site. You guys got it together!
I think the “heat index” is a good start for seeing what sells on the site. However, I don’t find it to be particularly useful. For instance, Cool Papa Bell is #8 on the site, because you shipped 15 of his cards in the past year and there’s only 3 left. But most of his cards are only worth 25 cents at best. So it’s not like I’m going to scour eBay for a monster lot of Cool Papa Bell cards.
OTOH, I’ve found that players such as Babe Ruth, Kobe Bryant, Don Mattingly, Walter Payton, Derek Jeter, Shaquille O’Neal and others are solid sellers. Yet they’re not in the “heat index” at all, even though they might outsell Cool Papa Bell by a factor of several hundred, both in terms of cards sold and in terms of actual dollars changing hands.
COMC publishes very detailed stats about all of its sellers – how many cards they have listed, total book value sold / submitted, percentage of cards sold, average discount for cards currently offered (modern and vintage).
I’d like to see similar stats for players on the cards. If you don’t want to publish stats on every single player, you might consider lists of the top 100 players in each sport by number of cards sold, average percentage of guide realized, expected half-life of a card submitted (the number of days, on average, that it would take to sell 50% of a player’s card), etc.
Those sort of stats I would find useful – more useful than the selling price of a particular card, and more useful than the “heat index” as it currently stands.
As for the postage, I agree that COMC provides excellent value for the money. If I pay eBay $100, they probably didn’t do a darn thing to actually earn the money (except provide a venue). If I pay $100 in COMC fees, it’s money you earned by working your butt off.
Thanks for the suggestion about stats on the top players like we have for top sellers. I like that idea.
The problem with the shipping fees is they still don’t truly reflect the volume savings they should. If I need a lot of, say, 50 cards from one seller on sportlots (often easy to do if filling sets,) I can get it shipped for a few dollars. I could place that total of cards in a small box and ship for around $2-3, whereas here it’s still costing over $15. I don’t mind paying a reasonable handling fee, but that’s a lot.
I agree then it’s far better than other sites when splitting across many sellers, but it could be better. It’s nice to see this site grow and recognize the service provided, but I feel the fees are probably still too high as either a seller (20% to cashout??) or as a casual buyer.
I think if there was better tiering on postage, sales on the site would increase – I would be more tempted to join and buy but right now I am not.
Thanks for the feedback. Yes, sometimes you can find one seller on a site that has enough content that you can get a decent discount from them. However, that seller is typically able to offer such a discount because they are losing money on labor for shipping and making it up on their per card profit margin. In our case, we don’t have any markup where we can afford to subsidize the shipping labor. Even the 20% cashout is lower than it may appear because more than 50% of the time people recycle their store credit to buy other cards and not get hit with any fees. As a result our average per sale fee is less than 10%.
I’d like to see a system where sellers can choose a fee structure – either the 20% cashout, or some smaller amount (5%, 8%, 10%) fee on every sale (with no cashout fee).
If your average per sale fee is less than 10%, you could offer a 10% pay-as-you-go fee and still be revenue neutral.
I wish it were that simple. The problem is that the funds will gravitate towards whatever account has the lowest percentage fee. That is why we can never changed the 20% cash-out fee or we are effectively lowering the fee for everyone. When we originally introduced our consignment service 3 years ago, we did have a tiered cash-out structure that started at 30% and decreased all the way down to 20%, but we realized that everyone wanted to achieve the 20% level, so the other levels weren’t relevant. We soon simplified the cash-out structure to 20% across the board.
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The only problem I have is that several $25+ cards shipped to me in batches before come without top loaders. There seems to be no rhyme or reason which cards are top loadered in shipping and which are just in penny sleeves. Makes me very apprehensive about shipping my next batch.
In the past there were cases where this could happen, but we have changed our policies and our system so that that is no longer possible. Every card that someone pays $20+ for is guaranteed to be shipped in a toploader. In any case, we always guarantee successful delivery. If any cards are ever damaged in transit, you can just contact us and we will make sure you get refunded.
Sounds like someone heard some complaints at the National. I’m waiting for a shipping special to get all my cards because the standard price is too much. Sure, in comparison to some of the other places it’s low, but if all you’re trying to do is beat everyone else instead of providing the customer the best you can, then you’re selling both of us short.
Suggestion: allow for dialogue between the seller and buyers when making offers and counteroffers. It would save all of us time and hassle to be able to communicate during the process.
Dan, thank you for expressing your opinion, but that wasn’t actually what happened. The blog post was sort of inspired by the National, but not from comments we heard. Rather, I went to the National and spent hours hunting for a certain player that I really like. I couldn’t find any at the National, so I went to these other sites and found the cards I wanted. Unfortunately, the shipping was so much more expensive than it would have been on our site. That was the inspiration for the post.
Regarding “selling both of us short”… I believe that anyone that knows us would agree that that is not our heart. We do everything we can to offer the best service at the lowest price. Our shipping fees are designed to cover our costs, and that is all they do. Other sites can lose money on shipping labor because they factor that into their profit margins. Our shipping fees need to cover all of the shipping labor, not just the postage.
Thanks for the feature request about communication during the offer process. For now we are choosing to keep the site as simple and safe as possible. We don’t want to get into the business of policing messages to keep our buyers and sellers safe.
I couldn’t say your last point any better. It’s not hard for people to find me on the Internet if they want to talk to me.
As a relatively new seller on the site I just wanted to comment that i have had nothing but a pleasant experience thus far. I just read a couple of comments that were negative about the shipping rate and i would just like to add that the rate does seem very fair, just account for it when making your offers. It’s very buyer friendly to not have to deal with multiple small purchases to differect sellers, trying to keep track of it all can be difficult and costly for shipping. I also read a comment advocating the buyer being able to contact the seller, i hope this site always can stay anonymous i have had to many years of aggravation on ebay with rude buyers and sellers. thanks and keep up the good work!
Thanks for the positive feedback. I am glad you appreciate the anonymity. We will continue to do our best to create a site that is a great place for collecting.
My only complaint about the shipping fees is that there is only a bulk shipping discount for 50 or more cards. This is a great site with great deals, and I could easily purchase several hundred cards at one time. I would like to see another bulk shipping option for purchases with a minimum order of xxx number of cards. Until then I am with Dan in waiting for another shipping special… are there any plans for a shipping special in the near future?
Other than the monthly shipping special, you will likely have to wait until Thanksgiving. We usually do something there, but we haven’t decided what it will be this year.
I love the shipping rates on this site, it makes it much more buyer friendly than alot of other sites, due to the fact that you can buy from multiple sellers and the shipping is combined. I particularly enjoy the packaging of the cards, no taped up toploaders, or cards crammed into holders that are too small, shrink wrapped penny sleeves etc….love the site! Now if more people would send in their Ocho Cincos I’d love it more!
Glad that you like how we ship. I just finished opening about 50 packages sent from other sellers, and the paper cuts from all the creative ways people try to package cards are quite annoying.
Hey, regarding the shipping fees, other fees, the service as a whole – you guys are doing great and you are entitled to a profit. I shop on ebay and COMC, as well as occasionally finding some nice items at the local card store or the monthly card show in Portland, Oregon. Your service has been outstanding for close to a year now since I found the website. You are an integral part of my card collecting – there is no better way to upgrade your cards, sets, subsets, etc. More power to you.
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