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.
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Special thanks to Jeremy Williams for writing this blog post.