Preparing for Growth: Simplifying Fees

We have learned a lot from our first five years, and in a couple weeks we plan to launch a simplified fee structure. One of the primary goals is to make the site easier to understand as we begin to launch new services.

We announced last year that we purchased the domain COMC.com, and that we would eventually branch out into new markets (e.g. comics, coins, memorabilia etc.). One of the major concerns was that the fee structure could get extremely complicated if we didn’t make some fundamental changes. So here is our core strategy.

Simplified the Fees For Buyers

We have about 2,000 sellers and 40,000 buyers. Buyers outnumber sellers 20 to 1. The only fees that buyers need to be aware of are shipping fees. By simplifying our shipping fees, we can make the site easier for 95% of our users. To accomplish this goal, we will be integrating the per-item shipping & handling fee into the published asking price of an item.

Examples: A normal trading card where a seller is asking $0.75 would be listed for buyers at $1.00 and a graded card with an asking price of $24 would be listed for $25.

Simplified Shipping & Handling
All shipping services offered with one flat rate price regardless of the number of items shipped.

Standard: $2.99, 3-5 days to package + USPS First Class Mail
Rapid: $4.99, 1 day to package + USPS First Class Mail
Priority: $7.99, 1 day to package + USPS Priority Mail
Express: $29.99, packaged same day + USPS Express Mail
Local Pickup: FREE (Coming soon to a card shop near you. More details will be released over the coming year.)

Shipping Guarantee
We will package your order and hand it off to the USPS within the specified time frame or we will refund the shipping fee.

How does this shipping change affect purchased items that haven’t shipped yet?
We will track when the per-item S&H fees have been paid. This is like purchasing a forever stamp. Items that were purchased before these changes will still need to pay the per-item S&H fee. This may be a little confusing until these grandfathered items get cleared out of the system. We will try to make this understandable, but it will soon become a non-issue. The Manage Inventory and My Shipments pages will display the corresponding per-item S&H fee.

How does this shipping change affect sellers?
These changes will not require any effort from sellers. When we release this update, all published prices will be inflated by our per-item S&H fee. When sellers set asking prices we will make it easy to specify how much they want for an item or to specify how much they want the item listed for. If a seller is trying to relist (aka flip) an item which already has S&H paid, the asking price will be the same as the list price, and the seller will get the full list price upon sale because the per-item S&H was already paid.

Original owners that want to have some items returned will still have to pay some per-item S&H, but it will be reduced.

Simplified Fees for Sellers

  • 3 simple processing services
    One Month, One Week & One Day. See below for more details. No more Special Sized service. All services can have a mix of raw trading cards and other items.
  • $3 batch fee gone
    Replaced with a simple minimum processing fee
  • Reduced storage fees
    Starting September 1st we will offer free storage for all items for sale at $0.75 or less. This jumps up to $2.50 if you opt in to the $50/month account upgrade. This will reduce what we charge for storage fees by an average at least 30%.
  • Free premium options
    Sellers will no longer have to pay for an account upgrade to set the minimum offer amount, minimum offer percentage, or auto-accept offer percentage.
  • No “fine print” fees
    Everything is simplified into the processing fees listed below.

Simplified Processing Fees for Sellers

All the fine print is gone. This is all you need to know.

One Month Processing
$0.25 / Card for raw trading cards
$0.50 / Item for all other supported collectibles
$5.00 Minimum processing fee per submission

One Week Processing
$0.50 / Card for raw trading cards
$0.75 / Item for all other supported collectibles
$5.00 Minimum processing fee per submission

One Day Processing
$1.00 / Card for raw trading cards
$1.00 / Item for all other supported collectibles
$5.00 Minimum processing fee per submission

Condition Notes
$0.05 for “has flaws” or “vintage wear” condition notes
$0.25 for detailed condition notes or separate COAs

Processing Guarantee
If we don’t deposit your items into your account by 11:59 PM PST on the due date, we will discount the processing fees by 50%.

Raw Trading Cards
Raw trading cards are any trading cards that meet the following specifications

  • Meets the “standard size” requirements
  • They must be raw or in penny sleeves
  • No toploaders or other hard cases
  • No graded or encased cards

If trading cards do not meet these requirements, they will be treated as “all other supported collectibles”.

All Other Supported Collectibles
You can use our service for any of the following.

  • Collectible trading cards that don’t meet the “raw trading cards” requirements
  • Collectible poker chips (e.g. 2005-06 Topps NBA Collector Chips)
  • Collectible coins (e.g. 1964 Topps Coins)
  • Items on our Beta Test list that will be published in a week or so (e.g. Comics, Coins…)

Feedback Wanted Disclaimer
We want your feedback, but please keep in mind the big picture. Yes, some of the fees are going up slightly, and many are coming down significantly or are completely eliminated. As you analyze these fee changes, please keep in mind that we need all of the fees to work together to make sure the system is sustainable and simple.

For example, today the 4 week processing service costs $103 for 500 cards. This is currently the cheapest way to get cards on the site. Soon the cheapest way to get 500 cards listed will be $125, but we are also decreasing the average storage fees by 30% by allowing you to list cards at $0.75 or less for free and $2.50 or less for free if you pay the $50/month membership. It should also be noted that we are reducing the cost of listing 50 graded, encased or jumbo cards from more than $40 to only $25, and we are cutting the cost of next day processing in half.

We are really excited about expanding into so many new markets, and these fee simplification are a critical, strategic step towards our future offerings. You are invited to help us shape these services.