Update on our best promotion ever

When we originally discussed what kind of promotion to run for the National Collectors Convention at a meeting back in June, we all felt that a theme surrounding the number 5 would be fun to run and easy to explain. It was our 5th anniversary and we’ve traditionally done number-themed specials at the National. A 550-count box for $55 was very similar to what we did the previous year. The only change was that we were removing the “5 product” restriction to make the deal more appealing, so as a safeguard we added a five-box limit just to be careful. We also decided to open the special up to everyone in case there were people who couldn’t make it to Baltimore to drop cards off.

At the 2011 National we took home about 70,000 cards, and we’d substantially increased in size since then so we estimated we’d be shipping back roughly 100,000-120,000 cards from Maryland and probably receive another 200,000-250,000 in the mail. Our estimate for drop-offs was pretty good, as it turned out, but our guess for mail-ins was 400,000 cards off.

The final tally of items we received was about three quarters of a million, and it all arrived within about a two-week period so the due dates were extremely clustered. On three different days there were over 100,000 cards due to go live.

To stay on top of the processing curve we asked for volunteers from our consignors to have their items delayed in exchange for a discount. We also brought on twenty employees in a combination of full time, part time, and temporary positions. Everyone at COMC has been working extremely hard and I am very proud of the dedication and perseverance of all of the teams in the face of an unprecedented quantity of incoming business. The three biggest due dates were Friday September 7th, Monday the 10th, and Wednesday the 12th. Looking at the raw math we expected to be late on some batches from each of those days, but due to the heroic efforts of the Processing and ID teams we actually were successful at hitting the dates for items due for Friday AND for Monday.

Today is Wednesday, the last large due date, and we will be late on some batches beyond those from the customers who volunteered to be delayed. Here is the relevant information:

– If your batch is delayed we will assign it a new due date one week out, and discount the batch by $5. You’ll see the discount reflected in your store credit when the batch goes live.

– Some new customers sent us batches of thick cards that actually would have been less expensive to send in under our Four Week service. After we finish uploading the last of the submissions from the special we’ll be analyzing the batches we’ve uploaded and we’ll figure out who would have been better off sending in their items as Four Week and give them a retroactive price change.

– We always try to maintain our high standard of identification quality, but we encourage consigners to review their uploaded transactions with extra care considering the volume that has just come through our system.

Thanks, everyone, for making this summer our biggest season yet. We’re looking forward to the fourth quarter of 2012.

As a final note, we’re going to start moderating off-topic comments more proactively. Please keep all comments relevant to the post. If there’s a topic you’d like us to post on that would make for positive discussion, shoot us an email at staff@comc.com.

Special thanks to Jeremy Williams for writing this blog post.

15 thoughts on “Update on our best promotion ever

  1. Congratulations to all the COMC staff. I just looked back at a post on December 17, 2011 when item 6,000,000 came on board. Since then over 2,300,000 new items have been added and of course there has to be a ton of cards waiting for the sellers to do their pricing and take them live. Might not break the 9,000,000 mark with this promotion but you will soon. Super job.

    P.S. How about a contest where we get to put in a guess as to when you hit 10,000,000!!!!!!

    • That’s a good idea. And to your other point, I have ~25,000 to price myself. It’s hard to keep up!

  2. Yes congrats and nice job under pressure!It sounds like you have a good team there. A special thank you to Tim, Steve, Jen and Jeremy as you all have helped me in the past few weeks with one thing or the other.

  3. One brief statement on your “final note”
    I am sure that was directed at how condition notes became a topic in your last blog post. Blogs and their comments often take many twists and turns. The one thing that can be said here is that 99.9% of the comments…whether they be critical, complimentary or debate amongst each other (we wish you guys had more time to engage the discussion but obviously understand you don’t right now) are done respectfully.

    Moderating/deleting comments will lead to customer frustration and encourage them to speak their mind elsewhere. A word of advice (yeah you guys get plenty from me) If people are going to be critical, you’d rather them do it on your site (again as long as it is respectful) because it shows despite their critical comments, valid or not, they continue to come back.

    There are plenty of other venues out there that can and do discuss the goings on here. Do you want people thinking they can’t share their thoughts and pushing them to those places? Here you actually have control over what is said and do have the power to delete at will. But if you really care what your customer base is thinking, (and AGAIN as long as the discussion is respectful), I would suggest treading lightly when it comes to moderating comments that might be frustrating for you guys to read at times but at the same time come from people that are taking time out of their day to share with you how they feel, and most importantly, are here on this site.

    Thanks for reading. Guess it wasn’t as brief as I planned lol.

    • Hi, TripleA.
      I actually agree with pretty much everything you said; the vast majority of the comments on our blog posts are intelligent and respectful even when they are critical. We would certainly rather have folks engage with us here in a productive dialogue than feel the need to go vent elsewhere.
      We want to encourage participants to keep each individual conversation focused, though. It is much easier for us and for new users to participate more in the discussion when there aren’t a dozen simultaneous developing threads about unrelated questions and concerns.
      The goal is not to quash debate or shush out disagreeing voices, simply to tackle one subject at a time.

      • Jeremy,
        Fair enough.
        I am sure there are times at the office you and others have read my ramblings and have said to each other ‘I wish that (BLEEP) would shut the (BLEEP) up’
        I appreciate that you guys haven’t actually told me (or really anyone to do that)

        Allow me to wave my pom poms here for a moment since I have been a bit negative lately.

        Both as a collector and a dealer I LOVE this site. I can’t wait to get in the office everyday to find out what we sold and see what bargains can be had.
        We love the fact we can send in stuff we don’t want to mess with so it frees us up to do more things here.
        We love the customer service you provide. My staff can look to you guys as an example of how things should always be done.

        We’ve been talking more and more about sending stuff in when the fees go up. We very well may because we have enough stuff here that we’ll “never” get to that paying you guys a bit more to do it for us makes it worthwhile.

        The point of what I promise will be my last ramble of the day is… please don’t ever mistake our occasional frustrations or concern as anything more than us being passionate and concerned for the long term well-being of this site and our ability to use it. You guys not only provide us a valuable service but for thousands of collectors, part time dealers…and even us dinosaur full timers, make it FUN to play around with cardboard again. And FUN was something that got lost for quite awhile as the hobby and industry took some sour turns over the last 20 years.

  4. It’s nice to see a company so open about what they’re doing. Most places are very secretive about everything, but not here. I love this site, and hope you guys are around for years to come!

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