I'm opening up a brick and mortar this year and want some advice!!
10 10

725 posts in this topic

25,032 posts
2 hours ago, slg343 said:

Really these should just be sold online and quickly.  You maximize profit and don't make uninformed customers angry.

this... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
433 posts

I like the idea of a reward system as a customer - I live in both NY and Toronto (split time) and thus have 2 LCS’S: in NY, it’s Midtown Comics and they do $20 off your next purchase for every $100 you spend. In Toronto, it’s Silver Snail and they do $5 every $100 you spend (and after $500, you get $30, a bonus $5), but also do US cover price (in CAD) for new comics and all trades (generally a 20% discount).. 

These are both probably the largest comic book shops in their respective cities, and so I’d expect pretty much every other store to have “worse” rewards than those. 

Overall though, I agree with others that a well-thought out rewards system will be net positive to the store. As a customer, 1) I try to do all my spending at those stores, and 2) often buy more than I would otherwise. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,634 posts
13 hours ago, FineCollector said:

I think you have to be very careful about starting a rewards program, particularly this early in the life of a store.  If your customers are happy paying what they're paying, continue to service them, but don't feel obligated to give them new discounts: if you offer new discounts, but don't bring in any new customers, that money just comes out of your pocket.  Also, it's another process that has to be managed and documented, and it sounds like there's plenty to do already.  I'd use it to retain customers if things get stale, or attract new customers if you get bored, but I don't think it's necessary right now.

Have to agree.  Rewards points at big businesses are to get your information for resale to marketing/advertising aggregators.  So that when you go to buy Kraft Mac and Cheese from the grocery store, you go home and check your e-mail and google's ads are Kraft products (yes that happened).  Those businesses don't lose anything on rewards points.  A small business that doesn't know how to sell customer information is likely to lose money.

Edited by SteppinRazor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20,586 posts
1 hour ago, SteppinRazor said:

Have to agree.  Rewards points at big businesses are to get your information for resale to marketing/advertising aggregators.  So that when you go to buy Kraft Mac and Cheese from the grocery store, you go home and check your e-mail and google's ads are Kraft products (yes that happened).  Those businesses don't lose anything on rewards points.  A small business that doesn't know how to sell customer information is likely to lose money.

I don't think midtown comics is making their money selling that info. But if your software can't handle it, then it is impossible to manage. 

Also, creating additional incentives to spend more money is the idea. Unless you think your customers are all operating on strict $50 a week or whatever budgets. Anyway, I wouldn't do it as a pure credit like midtown, I would do it as a credit toward back issues in the bins (or individual gaming cards), as I assume your better stuff is on the wall or behind the register. Giving someone $20  to spend on books with $10 and less sticker prices makes them feel good, but costs you very little as I assume those have great margins.

Edited by the blob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
374 posts
On 2/18/2018 at 11:56 PM, the blob said:

It requires software to do it effectively, but midtown's $10 or $20 bonus for buying $100 ofcomics(i forget the bonus) is perhaps a way of rewarding your spenders. I disagree that a shop can't compete with online sellers. a $1-5 back issue is going to be cheaper live than online with shipping. That is the bulk of stuff in the bins i presume.

I meant that they can not compete on subscriber discounts. 

When talking LCS retail, subscribers are the largest part of comic income. That was far and away my experience, and the experience of most I spoke to. Of course there are outliers.

Many on this board who have not done retail tend to comment about retail as it pertains to them (the back issue collector). In most stores, this is a fairly small part of the business.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20,586 posts

 

 

30 minutes ago, ParamagicFF said:

I meant that they can not compete on subscriber discounts. 

When talking LCS retail, subscribers are the largest part of comic income. That was far and away my experience, and the experience of most I spoke to. Of course there are outliers.

Many on this board who have not done retail tend to comment about retail as it pertains to them (the back issue collector). In most stores, this is a fairly small part of the business.

How many books are getting sold via on line subscriptions vs. the stores? Isn't that mainly people in remote areas? Heck, one of my shops mails pulls to some customers. They all give some type of discount. As for my experience in comics, not as an owner, but i worked in a comic shop in grad school. His pull list folks got a discount. He went under, but half due to ebay killing his back issue sales and half due to a rent hike. I understand the margins are tight.

Edited by the blob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
374 posts
2 hours ago, the blob said:

 

 

How many books are getting sold via on line subscriptions vs. the stores? Isn't that mainly people in remote areas? Heck, one of my shops mails pulls to some customers. They all give some type of discount. As for my experience in comics, not as an owner, but i worked in a comic shop in grad school. His pull list folks got a discount. He went under, but half due to ebay killing his back issue sales and half due to a rent hike. I understand the margins are tight.

You'd be surprised. I was in the metro area of a large city. Plenty of people had no shame coming in telling me they were DCBS customers. Some even wanted to flip through books before they got their shipment. You simply can not acquire that customer at a profit. 

This is why I mention I found personal gestures mattered more to the typical LCS supporter. Attentive and personal service keeps them coming in. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,130 posts
20 minutes ago, ParamagicFF said:

You'd be surprised. I was in the metro area of a large city. Plenty of people had no shame coming in telling me they were DCBS customers. Some even wanted to flip through books before they got their shipment. You simply can not acquire that customer at a profit. 

This is why I mention I found personal gestures mattered more to the typical LCS supporter. Attentive and personal service keeps them coming in. 

Ya exactly.  I find also having stuff like 'staff picks' - where maybe each staff member has a different comic for that month helps provide some good insight and recommendations.  That's service you won't find with a discount online retailer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
374 posts
30 minutes ago, spreads said:

Ya exactly.  I find also having stuff like 'staff picks' - where maybe each staff member has a different comic for that month helps provide some good insight and recommendations.  That's service you won't find with a discount online retailer.

Staff picks are excellent for upselling. Typically a customer will identify with at least one "picker". This may increase the odds of them picking up a new title if "their" employee picks it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42,996 posts

The trick is giving your customers perceived value while protecting your bottom line.

Giving a 20% discount on new books greatly reduces the profit per book sold.

My thought was to  give away stuff that cost me nothing.

 Pick a slow day and do a Spend $50, get $20 from a select section of back issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
533 posts
16 hours ago, SteppinRazor said:

Have to agree.  Rewards points at big businesses are to get your information for resale to marketing/advertising aggregators.  So that when you go to buy Kraft Mac and Cheese from the grocery store, you go home and check your e-mail and google's ads are Kraft products (yes that happened).  Those businesses don't lose anything on rewards points.  A small business that doesn't know how to sell customer information is likely to lose money.

This isn't necessarily true at all. There are plenty of big name businesses out there that have reward programs that very clearly state that your information will not be sold to 3rd parties if you don't want them to share your information. You just have to do due diligence and read everything regarding thier privacy policies. Plenti is a perfect example. Plenti is a rewards program that lets you earn points in one place and use them at another. Currently Plenti works at over 900 retailers, brands, restaurants, bars etc. If you actually take the time to read everything about the program, you will learn that they do in fact share your information with all of the participating companies, unless you don't want them to. If you contact Plenti within the first 30 days of starting the program and tell them you don't want any of your personal information shared, they will not share any of your information. I have been using Plenti for over 3 years and when I joined, I used a new email address I set up as my main email just gets swamped with way too many emails from various companies and I wasn't about to take the chance of adding hundreds of other companies to that list so again I used a new email I set up and I haven't received a single email from any of the participating members at Plenti to date. So I absolutely believe they are true to thier word in regards to not sharing your personal info if you don;t want them too. You could actually sue them if you found evidence to the contrary as its right in thier contract that they will not share your information if you don't want them too and you take the proper steps in the proper amount of time. Again, you just have to take the time to read everything about a particular program, especially their privacy policy. Many reward programs do in fact share your information, but there are many that do not as well. 

And I wanted to add that there are actually programs out there these days that are designed purely for setting up and maintaining reward systems, sales & discounts, etc. A perfect example is Flok & Blackhawk Networks. Blackhawk Networks is aimed at larger corporations, but you could still get some great idea's from them as they actually have a couple of free guide's that you can download called "The Indispensable Guide to Rewards" & "The Right Reward"

Quote

This resource is your first stop, especially if you’re either relatively new to rewards and incentives, or have relied on the same types of rewards for the past few years. This reference guide will give you a broad overview of the different reward categories available, including new solutions developed with the help of recent technology. Keep it on hand for the next time you need to spice up your program or develop a new promotion. 

https://info.hawkincentives.com/guide-to-rewards

Quote

Download our guide, The Right Reward and discover 700+ ways to give your program participants goosebumps. 

https://info.hawkincentives.com/right-reward

49 minutes ago, shadroch said:

The trick is giving your customers perceived value while protecting your bottom line.

Giving a 20% discount on new books greatly reduces the profit per book sold.

My thought was to  give away stuff that cost me nothing.

 Pick a slow day and do a Spend $50, get $20 from a select section of back issues.

Yeah, 20% off new books is just too big of a discount for a new store to absorb. If he winds up becoming crazy successful some day and opens multiple stores then maybe then that could be something he could do, but as a single comic store just starting out you would really want to limit it to something that wouldn't significantly effect your bottom line. There is always the Zenescope approach as well. That being people have to actually spend X amount to become a member of the program and once a member they get certain discounts and rewards for joining. That way only people that are serious about rewards wind up joining and you make money off the membership fee to help offset the discounts they will get in the future. Its basically like Best Buy's gamer club. You spend $30 every 2 years to be a member and you get 20% off all game purchases. Best Buy wound up being so successful with that club that Amazon wound up having to match that 20% discount for Prime members on new game purchases as Best Buy was taking a significant amount of gaming business away from Amazon.

Edited by OrangeCrush

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20,586 posts
7 minutes ago, shadroch said:

The trick is giving your customers perceived value while protecting your bottom line.

Giving a 20% discount on new books greatly reduces the profit per book sold.

My thought was to  give away stuff that cost me nothing.

 Pick a slow day and do a Spend $50, get $20 from a select section of back issues.

Right, that's why I thought it would be best to have any "bonus bucks" directed to his 80-100 long boxes of back issues he needs to start turning over faster. I agree, taking cash out of the transaction on your end does not help that much, getting rid of $1-$5 box books you paid 10 cents each for (or maybe $1.50-$2.00 for if they are overstock from new comic orders, but those are sunk costs, need to move them anyway) helps (and possibly getting that customer into the habit of perusing your back issue selection too).

You probably don't NEED software, just a notebook that you update. Probably not a bad way of keeping track of how much each customer is spending with you anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42,996 posts

Give out "funny money" bills. No book keeping and if customers lose them, that's on them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
533 posts
2 minutes ago, shadroch said:

Give out "funny money" bills. No book keeping and if customers lose them, that's on them.

You really are limited only by your imagination when it comes to reward programs. There are so many different options and methods that one can use these days that you could literally have a 100 page thread based purely on that subject alone and likely not touch on all of them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32,605 posts
2 hours ago, ParamagicFF said:

You'd be surprised. I was in the metro area of a large city. Plenty of people had no shame coming in telling me they were DCBS customers. Some even wanted to flip through books before they got their shipment. You simply can not acquire that customer at a profit. 

This is why I mention I found personal gestures mattered more to the typical LCS supporter. Attentive and personal service keeps them coming in. 

Exactly.

In business school one of my professors posed the example of a local mom and pop hardware store in town where a new Walmart was opening. He said that too many small fish tried to compete on price, which was impossible given the bargaining power of a multinational like Walmart, and that the local shops inevitably went out of business because of it. Instead, they should have RAISED prices and competed on personal attention, atmosphere, knowledge base, etc. The customers seeking the lowest prices would be lost immediately anyway, and the customers wanting a more personal touch would not be driven away by a 5-10% price hike. 

A shop with more overhead and lower volume is not going to win a race to the bottom price war with a large online subscription service. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42,996 posts

Too many people concentrate on their weaknesses.  That's nuts. Focus on your strengths. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20,586 posts

I don't think anyone is saying he should be offering 10-20% off for subscription people because, I get it, he needs the cashflow. But he has 80-100 long boxes of back issues that he brought into the business, maybe he has bought more since opening. As someone who is trying to organize something similar (and I am guessing his might be a little dreckier than mine given how he is describing it, but I might be wrong), he wants people perusing and buying that stuff. A $10 credit toward those books for every $100 you spend on new books and back issues seems like a nice incentive and may get people looking in those bins. Other incentives like the variants and what not are good too. And having a great friendly environment where people like to go and spend money is also critical. An open bar like my kid's former barber has would be a bonus as well. Heck, I might drive out to Long Island!

 

 

Edited by the blob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20,586 posts

Genesis..someone needs to give him another yelp review. The one that is up there is bleh. The google reviews are good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,130 posts
1 hour ago, the blob said:

Genesis..someone needs to give him another yelp review. The one that is up there is bleh. The google reviews are good.

How about this, "I came for the toilet, stayed for the comics".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37,547 posts
On 2/19/2018 at 6:10 PM, slg343 said:

Please make sure the plan is well advertised.  Because if I was to bin hunt and then got to the counter for look up I would never return. 

This times one hundred million. If you have books out that aren't priced and I dig them and then you look them up? I will drop righteous anger on you. Not much in this hobby annoys me more than this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
10 10