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.