COMC Sellers! Huge Announcement!

Thank you for helping COMC grow from being a garage startup to making a tangible impact on the trading card industry.  COMC currently ships more single trading cards than any other company on the planet, and we could not have done this without such amazing support from all our sellers, buyers, employees, vendors, and partners.  I am incredibly proud of what we have built together and feel very fortunate to be on this journey with you.

Today we are making one of our biggest announcements ever, and we don’t take this lightly.  In fact, we have been pondering and refining these changes for nearly 5 years.

If you haven’t already watched the video above, I recommend doing so before reading the rest of this post.

What enabled COMC’s success? 

Several factors have made COMC’s service so popular, but one of the most significant factors is our Buy Now – Ship Later model. This is a key reason why we are considered the best website for set builders and player collectors.

While most sites have tried offering faster and faster shipping to attract more business, this strategy has resulted in average order sizes of less than 2 cards per package.

At COMC, we have invested in a model where you can sell cards to earn COMC Credit, or you can buy more credit, and then you use that credit to make offers, instantly purchase items, and eventually request a shipment. This Buy Now – Ship Later model has resulted in an average of 40 cards per package, saving COMC members millions of dollars on shipping, and allowing COMC to dominate the low-end portion of the trading card market.

Why change? 

Many sellers have expressed they would like to use our service for more of their mid-range and high-end items in addition to all their low-end ones.  The greatest cost when selling low-end items is shipping, but as you progress to more mid-range and high-end items, commission fees gradually surpass shipping costs, and eventually commission fees become the most significant costs.

A fee structure that can support both low-end and high-end items will be a huge win for our sellers and our buyers.

What is the goal? 

We want to welcome more mid-range and high-end items onto the COMC platform while also preserving our superiority with low-end items.

What is changing? 

We are reducing the overall commissions we collect by making the following changes.

  1. Our 20% Cash-Out Fee is being replaced with a 10% Cash-Out Fee and 5% Transaction Fee.
  2. Our 20% eBay/Amazon seller’s commission is being replaced with a much smaller buyer’s premium.
  3. A small Enhanced Security Fee will be assessed to items listed for $50 or more.

Cash-Out Fee Details

On January 1st, 2019 we will reduce our Cash-Out Fee to only 10%.  This will be available for all COMC Credit that was charged the 5% Transaction Fee.  With any Legacy COMC Credit you earned before the 5% Transaction Fee, you will have these choices.

  1. Spend it on cards and services
  2. Convert some or all Legacy COMC Credit to new COMC Credit by paying a 5% Conversion Fee
  3. Wait until January 1st, 2020 when we retire the concept of Legacy COMC Credit and give 10% cash-outs to any COMC Credit

No matter which option you choose, you will be better off than you are with today’s 20% cash-out.  That said, the best option is still to simply use the Legacy COMC Credit on COMC and avoid the cash-out and conversion fees all together.  When you use COMC Credit to consign items, make offers, buy items, request a shipment, or pay for any other COMC services, we will use up your Legacy COMC Credit first.  When you Cash-Out COMC Credit, we will use the new COMC Credit first.  We will always use the credit that is most advantageous for you.

Here are some example Cash-Out scenarios.

December 31st, 2018  January 1st, 2020 
$1,000 COMC Credit $1,000 COMC Credit
– $200 20% Cash-Out Fee – $100 10% Cash-Out Fee
$800 PayPal Deposit $900 PayPal Deposit
January 1st, 2019  July 1st, 2019 
$0 New COMC Credit $600 New COMC Credit
+ $1,000 Legacy COMC Credit + $400 Legacy COMC Credit
– $50 5% Conversion Fee – $20 5% Conversion Fee
$950 New COMC Credit $980 New COMC Credit
– $95 10% Cash-Out Fee – $98 10% Cash-Out Fee
$855 PayPal Deposit $882 PayPal Deposit

We will also reduce the cost of Blowout Cards gift certificates.  These details will be provided in a follow up blog post.

Transaction Fee Details 

Starting January 1st, 2019, we will charge a 5% transaction fee on all transactions that transfer store credit in exchange for items. This fee will be collected at the time of sale and is very similar to the 3% promotion fee charged when you run a standard sale promotion today.   Consequently, we will also reduce promotion fees so it is easier for you to run promotions and drive sales.  More details on the new promotion fees will be provided in a blog post coming soon.

Traditional Order vs Buy Now – Ship Later 

We classify all eBay, Amazon, and COMC Shopping Cart purchases as Traditional Orders.  These orders require immediate shipment as part of the payment contract.  We will make several changes to streamline these Traditional Order scenarios, which are really intended for the causal buyer that just wants to quickly add a few items to their cart and check out.  For example, we have offered “free shipping” on more expensive eBay listings by embedding the cost of shipping in the eBay price.  Also, eBay and Amazon require all orders to be mailed out within 1 business day.  So, we will simplify our shipping options and standardize across eBay, Amazon, and the COMC Shopping Cart, making it seamless for casual customers to very quickly purchase a few items.

In contrast, our COMC Credit scenario enables the Buy Now – Ship Later functionality.  This is designed for more serious collectors who frequently do both buying and selling.  With COMC Credit, the buying process is clearly differentiated from the shipping process, and shipping is optional.  It is very common for people to buy items and then resell them without ever taking physical possession of the items.  It is also common for people to buy items one day and not request a shipment for weeks, months, or even years, so we will continue to offer our low-cost, slower shipping options when placing shipment requests with COMC Credit.

Improved eBay & Amazon Selling Experience (Traditional Order Premium) 

Over the past several years, we have required sellers to factor the 20% eBay/Amazon commission into their asking prices, making it more difficult for sellers to set competitive asking prices for mid-range and high-end items when opted in to sell on eBay and Amazon.  We will replace this seller’s commission with a much smaller buyer’s premium that we refer to as the Traditional Order Premium.

The Traditional Oder Premium will be 10% + $5 for items with an asking price of $100+ COMC Credit and 15% for items with an asking price of less than $100 COMC Credit.  As a seller, you will no longer need to inflate your prices to cover the old 20% eBay/Amazon commission.  Instead, you will only need to factor in the 5% Transaction Fee and optional 10% Cash-Out Fee.  If you plan to buy other items with the COMC Credit you earn from selling, you can ignore the 10% Cash-Out Fee altogether.

Starting immediately after Cyber Monday, prices on COMC will reflect the Traditional Order Premium when you are not signed in.  Guest visitors to COMC can only use the COMC Shopping Cart to make purchases, and they will always be subject to the Traditional Order Premium.  As a COMC member, you will see the COMC Credit prices after signing in, and you will not be subject to the Traditional Order Premium when you use COMC Credit to make your purchases.

During December we will begin transitioning eBay and Amazon listings to reflect the Traditional Order Premium.  In the meantime, items will be listed on eBay and Amazon either because the seller opted in to covering the 20% commission or because we reflected the Traditional Order Premium in the listing’s price.  Until we update a listing, any sales form that listing will still be subject to the 20% eBay/Amazon commission.  Once a listing reflects the Traditional Order Premium, you will receive your full asking price when it sells.  After January 1st, 2019, your sales will also be subject to the 5% transaction fee.

Once all the eBay and Amazon listings have been updated, you will no longer need to opt in to selling on eBay and Amazon, and all items for sale on COMC will automatically be eligible for sale on eBay and Amazon.

Revenue from the Traditional Order Premium

The majority of the revenue we receive from the Traditional Order Premium will go towards covering eBay & Amazon fees, extra support costs and increased return rates from these platforms, PayPal and credit card fees, advertising to drive more traffic to COMC, and eventually, affiliate and referral programs (hint-hint), as well as the software development costs to build and maintain these systems. It is not easy being one of the largest sellers on both eBay and Amazon. We frequently push them to their limits.

Enhanced Security Fee Details 

We anticipate receiving a lot more high-end items as the result of these changes, and our $0.01/month Storage Fee does not sufficiently cover the expenses we incur when properly securing your $1,000 items.

On January 1st, 2019, we will introduce an Enhanced Security Fee for items with an asking price of $50 or more.  Low-end items will not be affected by this new fee.  The fee will be $0.01 per $1,000 of total asking price per day. This amounts to about $0.03 per month for a $100 item or $0.30 per month for a $1,000 item.

The fee will accrue daily but will only be charged monthly.  The first Enhanced Security Fee will be assessed on February 1st, 2019 and will be based on asking prices throughout the month of January.

This fee encourages more competitive asking prices for high-end items and should help clear out some of the inflated prices on COMC today.

We will add a filter to the Inventory Manager that makes it easy for you to find items that are subject to the Enhanced Security Fee so you can easily make price changes to minimize this fee.

Net Effect of Commission Changes 

When an eBay buyer spends $1,000 on one of your items, you will net 20% more cash.

COMC on eBay Today  COMC on eBay After Changes 
  • $1,000.00 List Price
  • $800.00 after 20% eBay Commission
  • $640.00 after 20% Cash-Out Fee
  • $1,000.00 Traditional Order Price
  • $904.54 COMC Credit Price
  • $859.31 After 5% Transaction Fee
  • $773.37 After 10% Cash-Out Fee

$773.37 is 20.8% more than $640.00.

If you want $1,000 cash in your pocket for an item that sells on eBay, you will be able to do that with 17% lower prices on eBay.

COMC on eBay Today  COMC on eBay After Changes
  • $1,562.50 List Price
  • $1,250.00 after 20% eBay Commission
  • $1,000.00 after 20% Cash-Out Fee
  • $1,291.56 Traditional Order Price
  • $1,169.60 COMC Credit Price
  • $1,111.12 After 5% Transaction Fee
  • $1,000.00 After 10% Cash-Out Fee

$1,291.56 is 17.3% less than $1,562.50.

Bulk Price Editor 

As a seller, you may want to make widespread changes to your asking prices to reflect the new fee structure.  We will release an updated version of the Bulk Price Editor to make that process easier for you.  Keep an eye out for a future blog post with more details.

Frequently Asked Questions 

If you have a question about these fee changes, please leave a comment, and we will update this post to answer as many questions as we can.

 

Thank you for joining us on this journey.  We strive to continually improve your collecting experience, and this is just one step of many to come.  Stay tuned for many feature announcements over the next few months and throughout 2019.

Tim Getsch
COMC Founder & CEO

Just released version 4444

Version 4444 I just released version 4444 of our internal software yesterday. It was less than 20 months ago that I released version 3333. That is an average of more than 2.5 versions every business day.

While you may not have noticed many changes to the design of the COMC website recently, this stat might help you understand why. We have been busy re-inventing the software that runs behind the scenes now that we are in the business of building and maintaining checklists.

It is our ability to adapt and change so quickly that has allowed us to weather the storms we have faced, and it will also allow us to thrive going forward.

Vintage Enhancements & Items Stored Remotely

COMC Buyers, we have a couple exciting changes to announce.

Items Stored Remotely
Yesterday we updated COMC to let you know when items are not currently stored near our Redmond, WA headquarters. For example, cards that are consigned through our Canadian processing facility may take a month or two to migrate down to our US headquarters. While the items are still in Canada, we can’t ship them as quickly. The website now indicates which items are stored remotely, and it doesn’t let you request expedited shipping for these items. We recommend using our Standard or Registered shipping options if you have any remote items in your shopping cart or shipment request.

Vintage Enhancements
Over the coming months you will start seeing some enhancements to how we process vintage trading cards. We have noticed that on average, cards that are pre-1980 sell for twice as much and twice as fast as modern cards. We want to make this experience even better.

1957 Topps #20 - Hank Aaron [VG] - Courtesy of COMC.comFirst off, we are partnering with Dean’s Cards to offer the largest selection of scanned vintage cards on the internet. Both of our sites currently offer a little more than 500,000 vintage cards each. COMC.com will be the first website to ever offer more than 1 million scanned vintage cards with one flat shipping fee.

We are just starting to test some items now, and we will soon offer Dean’s entire vintage inventory. You will be able to use your COMC store credit to purchase any of Dean’s items, and his team will ship those items to us every day. We will then separate the items into their corresponding orders, so you don’t have to pay extra for shipping.

You will notice that Dean’s scans look a little different than our traditional scans, and also Dean’s team has provided more detailed condition information. We are working on a strategy to offer similar condition details for vintage items that are consigned with us. Stay tuned for more updates.

This is just the first step we are taking to towards becoming the premier website for buying and selling vintage cards.

Where in the world did Tim go?

10 millionA lot has happened since my last check in. January turned out to be a pretty good month. Many people reported having their best month ever. Also, on Friday night we crossed 10 million items actively for sale. This is quite an accomplishment. Collectively we continue to set records for the largest variety of trading cards offered under one physical roof. Way to go COMC Nation!

Tim’s Time Off

Tim with childhood best friend Pete

Tim with childhood best friend Pete

I am glad for everything positive that happened while I was gone. I generally don’t like to publicize when I take vacations, but that wasn’t really an issue in 2014 because I didn’t take any. Well, technically I headed back to Minnesota on Christmas eve 2014 to start my first vacation in more than a year.

All 5 of Tim's nieces and  nephews

All 5 of Tim’s nieces and nephews

After two weeks in Minnesota and Colorado, I came back to Seattle with a “gift” from my nieces and nephews. Unfortunately, it was the kind of gift that kept me bedridden for a week.

At this point I was 3 weeks behind on email. I spent most of the next week taking care of stuff at the office, and then I had another one week business/personal trip.

Tim's brother Terry playing a recently restored pinball machine from their childhood

Tim’s brother Terry playing a recently restored pinball machine from their childhood

I went to Georgia to visit my brother and his wife for the first time in a couple years, and I took a little detour to catch an NBA game. This is a necessity since Seattle lost the Sonics.

Tim at an NBA game

Tim at an NBA game

Needless to say, I am still a bit behind on email and a few other things.

Status Update

Now to give you an update on the top requests that our customer service team has been receiving.

Auctions
Around Christmas, we gave you a sneak peak of COMC Auctions. Many of you have been curious when and how we will roll them out to the public. We are still wrapping up some loose ends to make sure we are doing everything the correct way. This will take at least another couple months. We may selectively launch some more test auctions in the meantime. Once we do start allowing you to run your own auctions, we will gradually roll it out. For example, there will be a limit to the number of auctions each user can run. We don’t want to flood the market with more auctions than it can handle. As we see how the market is responding to auctions, we will adjust the limits. The Auctions feature is just one of several big improvements we are working on this year.

Website Issues
There are two known issues on the website that we are tracking down right now. Both issues appear to have been introduced when we made some upgrades just before Black Friday. The first issue is causing some computers to sporadically get new shopping carts. If this happens to you, please contact us, and we can restore the items in your cart. We have not yet found a consistent way to reproduce the problem, but we have added some code to help us track it down. The second issue is a timeout error when trying to search from the Inventory Manager section of the website. This appears to be a regression from the database upgrade we made. We are searching for a workaround to this issue. Until then, you might be able to work around this issue by searching your port, and editing prices from the item details page. This is not ideal, but it might work for some of you.

Response Times on Escalations
Um… Yes. I was on vacation. I am back now. If you are still waiting for a response to something, please contact us again, and we will make sure you get a response more quickly.

Time to Print Checks
In the past when the company was smaller, I processed all checks myself as the requests came in, and there was plenty of time for them to be delivered within 2 weeks of the cash-out request. As we’ve grown, this now goes through our accounting system that is structured around the print date rather than the delivery date. While the new system is a much better process internally and has freed me to spend more of my time on things you really care about, unfortunately, it can sometimes take a bit more time. We will be updating the website to reflect that checks will be mailed within 10 business days of the cash-out request.

Catalog Progress
Thank you for your patience as we continue to improve our catalog. Even though it has room for improvement, many people have still been able to post their best months ever. At this point we are working on the long tail. We estimate that 96.5% of the data has been entered, and we still have more to clean up. We ran some good challenges in December to help us clean up the data, but I haven’t incorporated the results into the catalog yet because of my time off. I expect to get that done in the next few weeks.

Some people have asked why we have done work on other areas of the site when the catalog is not done yet. The short answer is that we have limited resources, and the catalog will never be “done.” Also, not everyone in the company has the necessary skills to contribute to the catalog. In any case, we expect to always invest in improving the catalog. Sometimes I may choose to make unrelated improvements to the site because they have potential to increase our available resources. This will in turn allow me to have more resources to put back in the catalog. I fully expect our catalog to be superior to any other trading card catalog in the near future. The amount of resources we have available will determine how near that future might be.

Setting Expectations
2014 was by far our most challenging year. We basically had to re-invent ourselves. In doing so, I had to set the course for COMC and rally the troops to go there. While we did not accomplish every goal we set out to hit, we are now stronger than ever. As Confucius said, “If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it’s OK.”

Now for 2015 I want to focus on under-promising and over-delivering. We still have another big year ahead of us, but we don’t have all of the time crunches of 2014. 2015 is going to be an exciting year. I look forward to the next phase of the COMC journey.

Test Auctions & Win a Shopping Spree

If you haven’t tried out our new auction system. Now is a great time to kick the tires. We have more than 400 auctions that end tomorrow, and we will be starting hundreds more that end on December 25th.

COMC auctions are refreshingly simple. When you win auctions, the items transfer into your account within minutes of the auction ending. If you don’t have enough store credit in your account when the auction closes, that is OK. As soon as your account has sufficient store credit, the items will automatically transfer into your account within seconds. And as always, you get flat rate shipping on unlimited items, or you can put items you win back up for sale instantly.

Win a Boxing Day Shopping Spree
Go test out placing a bid. On December 26th, we will be issuing $1,000 worth of shopping sprees. 50 different users that have placed bids will win a $20 Boxing Day Shopping Spree. You will get one entry for every different auction you bid on, and you will also get one entry for every dollar you spend on auctions that you win.

Auctions to Watch
2014 Topps High Tek TEKtonics Diffractor #TD-CR - Cal Ripken Jr. /50 - Courtesy of COMC.com 2014 Topps High Tek TEKtonics Diffractor #TD-CR – Cal Ripken Jr. #33/50

Here is a must-have for serious Cal Ripken collectors. This is a true /50. There are no parallels of this card. Only 50 collectors can add this card to their collection.

2014 Topps High Tek Autographs Cyan Printing Proof #HT-NR - Nolan Ryan /1 - Courtesy of COMC.com2014 Topps High Tek Autographs Cyan Printing Proof #HT-NR – Nolan Ryan #1/1

For Nolan Ryan collectors, you have a rare opportunity to pick up a 1/1 on-card autograph.

2014 Panini Limited Rookie Signatures Black #158 - Troy Niklas /1 - Courtesy of COMC.com2014 Panini Limited Rookie Signatures Black #158 – Troy Niklas /1

Notre Dame fans? Want to speculate on a rookie? Here is a 1/1 autographed rookie card of Arizona Cardinals tight end Troy Niklas.

2014-15 Panini Totally Certified Jerseys Purple Die-Cut #76 - Andrew Wiggins /99 - Courtesy of COMC.com2014-15 Panini Totally Certified Jerseys Purple Die-Cut #76 – Andrew Wiggins /99

Great opportunity to pick up a jersey card of the leading candidate for rookie of the year, Andrew Wiggins.

Cyber Monday Promotions & Shopping Sprees

Cyber Monday Shopping Sprees
Some of our Black Friday Weekend Shopping Sprees went unclaimed, so we just issued 100 more shopping sprees. If you logged into COMC in the past year, you may have won a Cyber Monday Shopping Spree.

Check to see if you won

2005-06 SP Game Used Edition SIGnificance Dual Extra [Autographed] #XSIG-MM - Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan /25 - Courtesy of COMC.comCyber Monday Promotions
Many of our sellers are running Cyber Monday Sales with the deepest discounts they have ever offered. You have until midnight PST today to buy up as many of these items as you can.

Best Deals Contests
Don’t forget to post your best deals by tomorrow night for a chance to win a box of cards.
Learn more about the contest

Free Shipping
We are providing Free Shipping on any order of 10 or more items. This special only applies to items that were purchased in Simplified Shipping Mode, not Advanced Reseller Mode.

Very Large Shipment Requests
If you try to put in a shipment request for more than 500 items, we will process those requests after midnight. They will still get the same promotional rates, but we don’t want to bog down the server with these requests while everyone is shopping today.

Black Friday Update
In case you missed it. Here is a quick video update on our Black Friday Status and other COMC news.

Black Friday Shopping Sprees

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Here is the breakdown of Shopping Sprees that were awarded for Black Friday.

Facebook Peyton Manning Contest
– 1 x $509

Scavenger Hunt
– 2 x $100
– 10 x $50
– 108 x $20
– 237 x $5

Buyers (based on items purchased and shipped since last Thanksgiving)
– 1 x $200
– 200 x $20

Sellers (based on items consigned in 2014)
– 100 x $20

Users were allowed to win more than one of the above prizes.

Find out if you won