1/5 – The Big Picture

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

1/5 – The Big Picture

Hello, this is Tim.  I apologize for not giving more context and details in previous posts. I have felt that if I gave you the full story it would be a 100-200 page blog post of all the changes you will see over the next year, and I don’t know how productive that will be. So I have decided to give you the details in a sequence of posts.

The first thing I want to say is that we are not planning to make any significant changes to Check Out My Cards right away. COMC.com will be a new site, and it will be the place where we experiment for now.

Starting on August 1st, COMC.com will be a new website and will no longer redirect to Check Out My Cards as it does currently. All of the items listed on Check Out My Cards will also be simultaneously listed on COMC.com, but COMC.com will also be slowly introducing additional items such as comics, coins, magazines, 8×10′s and other things that are not appropriate for Check Out My Cards. Your same username and password will work on both sites, and a sale on either site will remove the item from both sites instantly.  You will be able to price cards, field offers, flip cards, buy ports, and so on using either site interchangeably, but COMC.com is where we’ll be focusing our development effort and where we’ll be rolling out new features such as enhanced searching and wantlists.  We’re doing it this way because we don’t want to force anyone into a change.  We’re confident the new features and upgrades to COMC.com will speak for themselves.

Thanks to Sam Jin, our full-time in-house designer, for coming up with the new COMC logo. He is also working on a ton of other design projects that look great! You will see much more soon.

Motivations behind changing the rules for COMC.com
Again I want to apologize for not making our motivations and intentions clearer in previous posts. I wrote the Preparing for Growth post just before going to a friend’s funeral, so my mind wasn’t as focused as usual. Hopefully this will help make it clearer why we want to do things differently from the way Check Out My Cards works.

First off, we aren’t doing this business for the money. Money is a necessary part of keeping this going, but it isn’t our motivation. We do this because we are passionate about our hobbies and because we believe we can make a difference that helps others. Our unique consignment service is changing the way people collect, and we want to help as many people as possible enjoy their hobbies. Each of our 40+ employees is worth more than we can afford to pay them, but they are dedicated, hard workers because they know they are a part of something special.

Since our core motivation is to make our consignment service accessible to as many collectors as possible, how do we accomplish this?

Here are some of the facts that I see.
– 95% of paying customers exclusively buy
– 70% of dollars we are paid come from customers that exclusively buy
– 90% of dollars we are paid come from customers that buy more than they sell
(Note: these figures are not referring to site revenue, simply the breakdown of site transactions)

Since 95% of the users only buy and 70-90% of the funds we are paid are exclusively for buying, it seems like our best chance of making the service more successful is by making the site appeal to more buyers.

However… as a consignment service, our success is also directly linked to the success of our sellers. If they are not successful, they won’t give us anything to sell. To help them be successful, we need to give them good profit margins and a good sales volume. To do that we need to attract buyers and make it easy for them to make the buy decision. If we don’t generate enough buy decisions, sellers will not be successful, and we will not be successful.

Ultimately we need to balance attracting buyers, keeping sellers successful, and also maintaining a viable business model. COMC.com is our platform for achieving these goals.