Thursday, April 21, 2011

Product Review: 2010-11 Classics Basketball Blends Old School and New School

2010-11 Classics by Panini attempts to capitalize on its strong brand name by delivering a strong mix of veterans, rookies and retired players in the product configuration and checklist. This formula is something the company is very familiar and comfortable with as they replicate it on a fairly consistent basis. Forty rookies (numbered to 699) and forty legends (numbered to 999) accompany one hundred veterans to comprise a one hundred and eighty card base set. The rookies are all autographed and Panini deserves credit for delivering collectors an autograph component that is hard signed, a seemingly lost concept in this, the auto-label era.

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Trish Stratus As Hot As Ever

Post WWE retirement has been good for Trish. She runs her own Yoga studio, is co-host of the new USA reality show Tough Enough and stars in an upcoming action thriller, Bail Enforcers. Enjoy the official trailer:

Monday, April 18, 2011

What if . . . .

A list from the "What If?" brainstorming session at the Industry Summit found its way online, thanks to Sports Card News on Twitter. There are some really good ideas on the list, albeit some are also far from practical but that is the point of a brainstroming session. When you have 300+ dealers, wholesalers, retailers, and manufacturers in a room debating how to make The Hobby better, you have to start someplace. Here is the list.

Memorabilia - as opposed to swatches in card, move towards a redemption for an entire memorabilia piece? As a redemption. Is it cost prohibitive?

What if Manufacturers visit stores more often. Particularly stores who are at these conferences and show initiative in their business.

Redemptions - provide a list of redemptions pre-product release - suggestion to eliminate redemptions altogether;

What if manufacturer's allow stores to re-order product based on some scale (perhaps original order) if manufacture still has stock, would it be possible to solicit B&Mʼs again? Distributors often raise price once product gets hot or sells out; stores would like to realize some of that upside;

What about over-ship programs - store gets extra with some time frame and some return privilege to try to augment sells (problem of speculating on this??)

What if we made Hobby blasters - price point friendly packaged SKUʼs; What about vendor cases? For bulk singles and maybe even some additional inserts, correctly seeded in the vending cases

What if we double-box cases for shipping from the factory? Prefer master cases rather than half-cases in some circumstances

What if the trading card companies worked in the gaming world to attract younger consumers somehow? Gamestops everywhere - is there a way to work in there space?

What if the sports released more condensed within the season itself,

What if products released on days of some significance? Opening day; opening day for little league etc.

What if we could sponsor or co-op local affordable athletes for in store signings more often?

What if we had more POS/POP materials for the stores?

What if stores were charged a small fee for a promotional package of marketing materials? (many raised their hands that they would do this)

What if the B&Mʼs were more proud to be dealers for the manufacturers - that it meant more; that it was something not available to just anyone but to those who added the most value, and represented the brands the most professionally?

What if manufacturers store locators contained more information about the stores and were more up to date and current?

What if manufacturers promoted B&M stores within the products (i.e. Decoy cards) some competitive concerns - use internet

What if their were a neutral site (run by the manufacturers) that promoted the B&M stores as a locator

What if the manufacturers sold the stores the bags they use (or provided more perhaps in case) for consumers to carry out their product

What if Manufacture's kept stores better informed of release dates and changing release dates

What if we made more set build-able products? Some sets are far to difficult to build; looking for more achievable sets to build in a few cases. Conversely, some like the challenging aspect

What if we had a set-build difficulty label 1 through 10? On the package*

What if manufacturers could release certain sets in several series but have them not count as releases

What if we had more box-toppers? Like NHL Ice packs in Black Diamond. What if all boxes had boxtoppers? Box toppers that drive traffic to internet sites, new upcoming product previews, etc encouraging box sales

What if we put more actual memorabilia in the boxes (see above) as well as more cool memorabilia available is redemption?

What if we went back to sending out paper sell sheets more often?

What if we attach PDF sales sheets to Facebook dealer area?

What if dealers had kiosk (computer monitor) in store for product information? (distraction?)

What if there was a universal card-store locator with product information?

What if manufacturers had video product information available for stores? A small monitor that fits in a header card, need content update functionality - maybe via download?

What if we used a tablet app that had product info? What if we had some inter-manufacture digital video display for in store product marketing (something we all share the cost in developing and implementing

What if we put more shirts, jerseys, hats etc in product as case toppers?

What if we gave out coupons in product to next purchase? (expiry dated) do it electronically

What if we did a reward based program for set building

What if we had more consistency? - i.e Annual trading Card day;

What if we had broad based nationwide programs?

What if we had a registry system where collectors are competing for status based on collecting goals?

What if we do value boxes for hobby? (like we do for retail)

Here is the biggest "what if" of all, what if, just a handful of these ideas actually came to fruition? Heck what if just one came to fruition? Then it would mean this Summit had credibility and proved that the people with the power to make the changes, the manufacturers, really do care. So, what if?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Designing the Perfect LCS

Sometimes it's easy to find fault with our favorite LCS, but making a profitable business isn't easy. So I ask all of you, if you had the means, motivation, and market to open a good old fashion brick and mortar retail, hobby shop, what would it entail? Would it be sportscards only or would you carry other items; trading card games, sports figures, comic books, coins, etc What marketing have you seen in your LCS that you would replicate? What hours would the shop be open? What special promotions would you run? How would you acquire your initial inventory? Would you offer services like custom framing, eBay consignment, etc? Let's make this a group project and design the premier LCS/hobby shop? Ready? Go!!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Community Public Service: Share Your eBay Blocked Bidders

If you sell on eBay you know that between constantly changing policies, ever increasing fees and problematic buyers, sometimes, unfortunately its just a necessary pain. I know several of you probably sell on eBay as well and have your own blocked bidders list. It sure would be nice to avoid the people on your lists and vice-versa so I thought we could share those lists here in a centralized location.

Below is mine. Just leave yours as a comment so everyone can quickly copy and paste it to their respective blocked bidders page. Thanks.

are-you-normal, asiatradingcorp, atazmatic_32, bighorns81, carddood, cban84, chopperfan55, crystalballer32, dalsubfan, dave03091965, dunesfield, easyink, ilovesports68, imaman, kenkim2000, kw87fan1, marcdvigil, memorabiliaandcards, missgemmint, mobiledeb, montano999, nickequip, oct23may24, ourneeds777, pacers66, parsetdx, plaster32, ponnylowman, pureipod, raulkongen, roy_hobbs17, sg67sg67, tacticaladvantage, teacherdude70, tlangmacher, tntrocks8, torostradingpost, triple-k-sportscards, you_catcat, zcah1221

Video Highlights: 2010-11 Absolute Memorabilia Basketball