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 Order 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

First Trading Card Seller with 1 Million Listings

We just became the first seller in the Trading Cards category on Amazon to have more than 1 million listings. In fact, we have more than half of all Trading Card listings on Amazon.

We currently have a backlog of about 600,000 items to upload to Amazon, and our current pace is about 15,000 items per hour. We are working day and night to get as many items listed as possible before Thanksgiving.

If you want to have your items included for sale on Amazon, simply go to the “My Profile & Options” page and edit the new “Sell on Amazon.com” option at the bottom.

Getting ready to list your items on Amazon

I expect that later this weekend we will officially launch a new option to have your inventory listed on Amazon. In the meantime there are some things you can do to prepare for this.

Expectations
First off, I want to make sure your expectations are set appropriately. Listing single sports cards on Amazon is a relatively new endeavor. They are still working out some kinks and adding new features. Most of the public has not been trained to look for sports cards on Amazon. As a result, the exact same inventory will likely get significantly more sales on COMC.com than it will get on Amazon. I would roughly estimate that listing your inventory on Amazon might increase your sales by about 10%. That said, our couple week testing period only offers limited data. These numbers could sway greatly.

Fees
Because of our unique fee structure, our sellers commonly avoid our 20% cash-out fee by recycling earned store credit to buy other items on the site. In fact, they do it so frequently that we earn less than 8% cash-out fee per sale. This was intentional, it is encouraged, and it is a major factor in our growing success. However, it means that we don’t have high enough profit margins to cover the commission fees that Amazon charges. So… we will be passing along those fees to you if you choose to have your items listed on Amazon.

How it will work
To keep things simple, we are starting with one big option that will post everything you have for sale on Amazon. You will not be charged any fees to turn this option on or off. It will typically take a few hours for the data to initially go live on Amazon, but it might take longer at first because we can only post about 500,000 new listings per day. Once it is up there, your price changes should only be about an hour delayed. All new items that you list will automatically synchronize with Amazon.

Once we get an order from Amazon, we have a special COMC user account named “Amazon” that will make a 20% off offer that your account will automatically accept. You will be able to see these entries in your Offer History page. This is how we cover the Amazon commission fees and other monthly fees. We expect that many of you may want to inflate your prices before turning on the option to list your items on Amazon. That is perfectly acceptable. You will still be able to take normal offers on those items. The Auto-Accept Percentage, Minimum Offer Percentage, and Minimum Offer Amount settings only apply to normal offers.

Amazon Shipping
Just like on COMC.com, shipping fees are paid by the buyers, and they have a few options on Amazon. However, we charge a couple bucks more for shipping because Amazon requires that the orders be shipped out within 48 hours of being placed. In order for us to guarantee this, we run standard Amazon orders though our priority & express shipping pipeline. As a result we typically ship all Amazon orders placed by 6AM PST (9AM EST) on the the day they are placed. This is about 1-2 days faster than we typically ship our standard orders.

Back to testing…. More to come soon